Does "egoistic" and "egotistic" mean the same thing?

  • 2
    +1 for a question that has bothered me for some time too Commented Feb 10, 2011 at 14:53
  • As Jimi Oke's answer prove, this question can be definitively answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source; I voted to close.
    – user19148
    Commented Sep 29, 2012 at 21:46

3 Answers 3


No. While similar, they have some important differences. Consider this note on usage from the Oxford Dictionaries:

The words egoism and egotism are frequently confused, as though interchangeable, but there are distinctions worth noting. Both words derive from Latin ego (‘I’), the first-person singular pronoun. Egotism, the more commonly used term , denotes an excessive sense of self-importance, too-frequent use of the word ‘I,’ and general arrogance and boastfulness. Egoism, a more subtle term , is perhaps best left to ethicists, for whom it denotes a view or theory of moral behavior in which self-interest is the root of moral conduct. An egoist, then , might devote considerable attention to introspection, but could be modest about it, whereas an egotist would have an exaggerated sense of the importance of his or her self-analysis, and would have to tell everyone

  • 3
    +1. As the note says, though, they’re often used as though interchangeable — when using the words, don’t expect everybody to appreciate the distinction, and when reading them, don’t assume the writer necessarily meant to make it.
    – PLL
    Commented Feb 10, 2011 at 17:04
  • 1
    @PLL: Very true. The difference is quite obscure to many. In fact, I only solidified my own understanding in the process of answering this question.
    – Jimi Oke
    Commented Feb 12, 2011 at 0:38

I've rarely heard "egoistic", but to me it indicates a shading of "egotistic" that suggests self-interest or being focused on one's self to the point of ignoring other persons, rather than of flaunting imagined superiority.

"Egotistic" and "Egotistical" are much more common and are typically used interchangeably.


An "egotist" thinks that the world revolves around him/her. An "egoist" is a petty soul, disregarding of the rights and needs of others. It is synonymous with "selfish person".

  • 1
    Welcome. These definitions seem rather synonymous (a selfish person thinks the world revolves around them), and thus this may not answer the question. It also conflicts directly with the Oxford Dictionaries quote in the currently-accepted answer. Could you expand with some sources?
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Sep 29, 2012 at 21:23

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.