by (one)self

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by (one)self

1. Alone. Because there's usually so much going on with the kids, I really enjoy spending a quiet Saturday night by myself.
2. Through one's own efforts alone. You can't move that table all by yourself! Here, let me help you. My little girl loves to get dressed by herself, so tutus and cowboy boots have become the norm around here.

by herself

 and by himself 
1. with no one else present; alone. She hates to go to strange places by herself. He sat by himself at a table big enough for six people.
2. with the help of no one else. The two-year-old boy can get dressed by himself. Susan is unable to get there by herself.
See also: herself

by myself

 
1. with no one else present; alone. I sat at the table by myself. I will not be at the party. I will be at home by myself tonight.
2. without the help of anyone else. I did it all by myself. Can you eat that whole pie by yourself?
See also: myself

by oneself

 
1. with no one else present; alone (of two or more people). Must one sit by oneself or may one join another group? One just hates eating by oneself, doesn't one?
2. with the help of no one else. One is expected to do it by oneself. Can one do this by oneself?

by ourselves

 
1. with no one else present; alone. Do we have to sit here by ourselves? Can't we sit with Mary and Max? We like to eat by ourselves, so we can talk about private matters. 2. with the help of no one else. We can do it by ourselves. Can we lift this by ourselves, or do we need some help?
See also: ourselves

by themselves

 
1. with help from no one else. Do you think they can do it by themselves? Mike and Max cannot lift the piano by themselves.
2. with no one else present; alone (of two or more people). They are sitting there by themselves. Let's sit with them. They enjoy spending the evening at home by themselves.
See also: themselves

by yourself

 
1. with no one else present; alone. Do you want to sit here by yourself, or can I sit here too? Don't sit at home by yourself. Come to the movie with me.
2. with the help of no one else. Can you really do all this cooking by yourself? Bill, can you lift this box by yourself?

by oneself

Alone, unaccompanied; also, unassisted. For example, She enjoyed being by herself much of the time, or Brian can pick up his toys by himself. [c. a.d. 1000]

by oneself

1. Without company; alone: went by herself.
2. Without help: wrote the book by myself.