Self-Loathing – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Have you ever had a feeling that you simply are not good enough? Maybe you are full of doubts about how you look or your ability to get something done? “Self-loathing” is an apt term to describe this feeling and it can be applied in a variety of situations. This post unpacks the meaning and origin of the expression.


“Self-loathing” has a few different meanings. In modern Internet terminology, “self-loathing” typically refers to someone who does not like the group of people to which they belong. This could be the same for gay people who hate being gay and try to live their lives as straight people. In general, it is an intense feeling of not liking something about yourself and hating an aspect that can’t be changed.

In broader terms, “self-loathing” generally means not liking yourself. This can be for any variety of reasons, outside of those listed above. You may not like your hair, your appearance, or even certain aspects of your personality. “Self-loathing” does not have to be entirely focused on physical attributes. More information can be found in the video (here).

Example Usage

“Sarah is so self-loathing. She complains all the time about how she doesn’t like how her hair looks.”

“I can be pretty self-loathing sometimes. I hate my nose and think I’m fat.”

“Catherine talks about herself in a self-loathing way. She says she doesn’t like how her arms look.”

“I wish that John would learn to manage his self-loathing, it is preventing his progress as a manager”.

“Pete tries to act straight all the time, but it’s obvious he isn’t. I think he’s self-loathing.”

“I think Amy suffers from self-loathing. She talks trash about white people all the time, but she’s white herself.”


The meaning or feeling of self-hate has been around for as long as humans have existed. The actual term self-loathing, however, is much younger. The phrase was first seen in script in 1635. It was initially found in the medical text of psychologists and psychiatrists and then was later found in poems and stories. The term has always bounced between self-hate, loathing of self, and self-loathing.

Over time, the phrase has been used mainly in medical circles and as a part of official diagnoses. It is found in some texts or books that relate to self-esteem, self-worth, or those dedicated to mental health. The word is English in origin and is used all over the world. The actual creation of the word is unknown, but it has maintained the same meaning over time.

Phrases Similar to Self-Loathing

  • Self-hatred
  • Discrimination
  • Prejudice

Phrases Opposite to Self-Loathing

  • Self-love
  • Appreciation
  • Acceptance
  • Embracing yourself

What is the Correct Saying?

  • “Self-loathing” is itself the correct saying.

Ways People May Incorrectly Say Self Loathing

“Self-loathing” is a way to refer to oneself when you do not like a certain characteristic about yourself. While easy to understand, it can be used improperly. Some ways that “self-loathing” is used incorrectly are:

  • I’m so self-loathing. I love my hair!
  • I think Amanda is very self-loathing. She seems very proud to be Native American and talks about it all of the time.
  • I think John is self-loathing. He embraces the fact that he is Trans and is starting his transition soon!
  • There is nothing better than practicing a bit of self-loathing to boost morale.
  • I consider myself to be self-loathing. I love my eyes and my legs.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Self Loathing

  • There is something insidious about people who are full of self-loathing.
  • You will find that many bullies are not against those they attack, but rather try to attack others due to their own self-loathing tendencies.
  • Self-loathing is directly related to a person’s level of self-esteem, or lack thereof.
  • The best way to battle against anxiety and depression is to eliminate feelings of self-loathing or self-hate.

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