pron. The objective case of I1.
1. Used as the direct object of a verb: He assisted me.
2. Used as the indirect object of a verb: They offered me a ride.
3. Used as the object of a preposition: This letter is addressed to me.
5. Nonstandard Used reflexively as the indirect object of a verb: I bought me a new car.
[Middle English, from Old English mē; see me-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Our Living Language Speakers of vernacular varieties of English, especially in the South, will commonly utter sentences like I bought me some new clothes or She got her a good job, in which the objective form of the pronoun (me, her) rather than the reflexive pronoun (myself, herself) is used to refer back to the subject of the sentence (I, She). However, the reflexive pronoun of Standard English cannot always be replaced by the vernacular objective pronoun. For example, Jane baked her and John some cookies doesn't mean “Jane baked herself and John some cookies.” In this sentence, her must refer to someone other than Jane, just as it does in Standard English. In addition, forms like me and her cannot be used in place of myself or herself unless the noun in the phrase following the pronoun is preceded by a modifier such as some, a, or a bunch of. Thus, sentences such as I cooked me some dinner and We bought us a bunch of candy are commonplace; sentences such as I cooked me dinner and We bought us candy do not occur at all. Sometimes objective pronouns can occur where reflexive pronouns cannot. For example, one might hear in vernacular speech I'm gonna write me a letter to the president; nobody, no matter what variety that person speaks, would say I'm gonna write myself a letter to the president.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.