Let me explain this with an example. An inventor faces a problem, he decides to develop a solution for it. Initially, he is the main target audience for his invention.

I was wondering if there was an single word to describe this, a word that would mean "to solve your own problem" as a verb or "as a solution to his own problem".

I was thinking at a compound word with the prefix auto perhaps? http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/auto-

EDIT: Example usage: "The developer of the app said it started out as an (...) application (to solve his own problem). Now his company succeeds to target a more broad target audience." Is there one word that can replace the text in brackets?

  • I'm having trouble understanding how you want to use this word. Can you include in your question an example sentence with a blank for where you want the word to go? That might help inspire possibilities.
    – Ben Lee
    May 24, 2013 at 18:31
  • I just made an edit adding an example sentence.
    – Flrvt
    May 26, 2013 at 14:26
  • Hmm, in your particular example sentence, I'd just go with the word "personal". I'm not posting this is an answer because it doesn't actually answer your full question, but I think the word fits here because the "to solve his own problem" would be implied in this context. If I think of a word that fits and also answers your fuller question I'll post it.
    – Ben Lee
    May 27, 2013 at 0:11

3 Answers 3


I have scoured through everything I could find, and I am starting to think that such a word simply does not exist.

The words with "self" in it seem to the only solution.

I could see a few ways to phrase it well in that format though.

"The developer said he invented the app to address his own needs. Now his company succeeded and targets a more broad target audience."

I know it's not an answer to your question, but emphasizing the fact that the developer addressed his own needs also serves the same purpose.

  • Yes. I agree with you. The way you phrase it is also a good solution and might actually be more clear than using a complicated word or compound to say the same. Thanks.
    – Flrvt
    May 30, 2013 at 10:18

"Self-help" comes to mind. For medical issues, "self-diagnosed" and "self-medicated" are used.

EDIT - I removed my bone-headed comment about how "auto-" might not be a good prefix after @Jerry reminded me of autobiographies. I stand by my other 2 suggestions though!

  • autobiography comes to mind :)
    – Jerry
    May 23, 2013 at 17:49
  • @Jerry, Yeah, I'm sure those don't write themselves. "Autoerotic" is another one. Darn! :-) May 23, 2013 at 17:53
  • I would say that the phrases "self-help", "self-diagnosed" and "self-medicated" apply more to problems of a personal nature rather than an inventor as in the question.
    – Sam
    May 23, 2013 at 22:04
  • @Sam, just thinking outside the box here. "Self-help" does not need to be solely for personal problems and you don't know from the OP's context whether the problem that requires an "invention" is of a personal nature or not. Did he get "help"? Yes. Did he provide the "help" him"self"? Yes. There ya go! :-) May 23, 2013 at 22:07
  • 1
    Point taken - I guess I was taking just the common meanings of both self-help and inventor. Thinking outside the box is always welcome! :)
    – Sam
    May 23, 2013 at 22:11

I would go for "self-appointed" - having assumed a position or role without the endorsement of others.

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