Also found in: Idioms.


pron. Chiefly Southern & South Midland US
Our Living Language Speakers of some vernacular American dialects, particularly in the South, may use the possessive reflexive form hisself instead of himself (as in He cut hisself shaving) and theirselves or theirself for themselves (as in They found theirselves alone). These forms reflect the tendency of speakers of vernacular dialects to regularize irregular patterns found in the corresponding standard variety. In Standard English, the pattern of reflexive pronoun forms shows slightly irregular patterning; all forms but two are composed of the possessive form of the pronoun and -self or -selves, as in myself or ourselves. The exceptions are himself and themselves, which are formed by attaching the suffix -self/-selves to the object forms of he and they rather than their possessive forms. Speakers who use hisself and theirselves are smoothing out the pattern's inconsistencies by applying the same rule to all forms in the set. · A further regularization is the use of -self regardless of number, yielding the forms ourself and theirself. Using a singular form in a plural context may seem imprecise, but the plural meaning of ourself and theirself is made clear by the presence of the plural forms our- and their-. Hisself and theirselves have origins in British English and are still prevalent today in vernacular speech in England.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
He stands behind the dealer and sees that same dealer give hisself four aces offen the bottom of the deck.
Then Bob picks hisself up again, and looks at young gent on box werry solemn.
When dis old brack man dies, said the negro slowly, changing his whole air and demeanor, he hisself won't go nowhere; but some bressed angel will come and fetch him.
He shaved after dinner, and washed hisself all over after the girls had done the dishes.
Your doctor hisself said one glass wouldn't hurt me.
Hargrave wanted it all to hisself; but she wouldn't let it go, and so then they fell out.
He'll never look like hisself again, if he an't got into a hospital.
"He'd ha' found hisself in the station if we hadn't been so took up."
Mas'rs' hoss wants rubben down; see how he splashed hisself; and Jerry limps too; don't think Missis would be willin' to have us start dis yer way, no how.
This one ain't been used to fightin' or even to providin' for hisself, and more like he's somewhere round the Park a'hidin' an' a'shiverin' of, and if he thinks at all, wonderin' where he is to get his breakfast from.
Will he be Peter, or Alexander, or Pompey, or Diorgeenes, or what will he be?" And now when I look at him; a precious, unconscious, helpless infant, with no use in his little arms but to tear his little cap, and no use in his little legs but to kick his little self--when I see him a lying on his mother's lap, cooing and cooing, and, in his innocent state, almost a choking hisself with his little fist--when I see him such a infant as he is, and think that that uncle Lillyvick, as was once a-going to be so fond of him, has withdrawed himself away, such a feeling of wengeance comes over me as no language can depicter, and I feel as if even that holy babe was a telling me to hate him.'
Guv'ner says so hisself, an' the guv'ner knows--the guv'ner's got a head for business, you bet!