Definition of self-serving in US English:



  • Having concern for one's own welfare and interests before those of others.

    ‘public accountability is replaced by self-serving propaganda’
    • ‘That is so self-serving and selfish in my opinion, so that's the last thing I want to do.’
    • ‘The man's principal talent is for spinning self-serving tales.’
    • ‘The production in India was more self-serving than anything else.’
    • ‘The public had seen ‘nothing more than a self-serving determination to protect their vested interests’.’
    • ‘Years of benign neglect on the part of her parents are followed by an intense self-serving attention that masquerades as love.’
    • ‘Regrettably, the debate is so laden with emotions and self-serving arguments that the facts are often overlooked.’
    • ‘If we act in a purely selfish, self-serving manner, then the future fruition of that action will be negative.’
    • ‘We want to change the system so that the selfish and self-serving villains don't feel the need to harm others.’
    • ‘There are too few facts and too much self-serving fiction.’
    • ‘Of course it doesn't help that a lot of conceptual art is devoid of substance and that those cards are mostly self-serving inane twaddle, but the principle is there.’
    • ‘Instead, debate is often overwhelmed by superstition, folk wisdom, prejudice and self-serving agendas.’
    • ‘Why did many left-liberals regard him as a self-serving betrayer of their principles?’
    • ‘Fisher's attitude was emblematic of the insular and self-serving culture that has dominated the general committee for decades.’
    • ‘She turns on her own staff to make a selfish, self-serving deal behind closed doors that later gets revealed.’
    • ‘Though critics of Clarke have charged him with self-serving theatricality, he looked and sounded absolutely sincere to me.’
    • ‘The campaign to put a spoke in the wheels of efforts to clean up the customs service has descended to the level of self-serving media manipulation.’
    • ‘How can you be confident of the self-serving agenda of an agent?’
    • ‘We will be spared the horrors of greedy, selfish and self-serving individuals who trample over people so that they can get a million dollars.’
    • ‘The union had no room for self-serving demagogues.’
    • ‘Could it be the posthumous public pronouncements were really only shameless self-serving exaggerations?’


  • Concern for oneself before others.

    • ‘The most frustrating part of the debate is the obvious self-serving of some of the people concerned.’



/ˈˌself ˈsərviNG//ˈˌsɛlf ˈsərvɪŋ/