Full of oneself

Full of oneself is an idiom that dates back hundreds of years. An idiom is a commonly used word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech like an often-used metaphor have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words or other parts of speech common in American slang or British slang, is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions and idiomatic language such as hit the sack, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, silver lining, back to the drawing board, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, because they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker; it is helpful to maintain a list of phrases, common expressions, colloquial terms, and popular expressions to memorize that are used figuratively or idiomatically. We will examine the meaning of the common saying full of oneself, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

To be full of oneself means to be conceited, to be smug or self-satisfied, to be vain. Full of oneself may also be used to mean that someone has too high of an opinion of his own opinion; he is a blowhard. The expression full of oneself dates to the 1600s, though at that time, the term could either mean to be conceited or to be centered or grounded. Interestingly, the popularity of the term full of oneself skyrocketed in the twentieth century.


But Frog was very full of himself with his new long tail and his powerful position as keeper of the only watering hole. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

The authority with which he can manage a choir is impressive, yet he doesn’t seem overly confident or full of himself in the least. (Fort Dodge Messenger)

“Don’t be so full of yourself to think you know it all.” (Ortonville Citizen)

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