A self-destruct (abbreviated as SD) occurs when a character is KO'd without being hit by an opponent. This usually equates as intentionally (or unintentionally) jumping off the edge oneself, but falls also count as SDs when the stage KOs someone due to a hazard. In Time mode, self-destructs subtract one point by default from a player's score; this penalty can be changed to zero or two points in Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. 4. In bonus mode, the player's score is lowered by 500 points. If characters get defeated by their own item, it counts as both a fall and an SD, making them lose an additional point (Item Self-Destruct worth -1000). Friendly Fire also accounts for a loss of additional points. The character with the most self-destructs gets the Master of Disaster bonus (-1000), unless they have double or more the SDs of whoever has the second-most (and at least 3), in which case they get Self-Destructor instead (-2000).
Defeating one's own teammate counts as both a self-destruct for the attacker and a fall for the KO'd teammate. In the original Super Smash Bros. however, the character that defeated the ally earns a point while the ally loses a point, similar to a regular KO.
From Super Smash Bros. Brawl onward however, an SD can only be attained if the KO'd character did not get hit by an opponent during the entire stock or for three entire minutes, as touching the ground after being hit does not automatically reset their KO property. Therefore, a character can be hit by any attack (or even be Footstool Jumped off of), return to the stage, continue to play for a while, and intentionally KO themselves, but it will not count as an SD. Players, however, will often refer to any fall that is clearly the player's own fault as a self-destruct, regardless of whether the game counts it as such. This change may have been done because, in time mode, a player on the verge of getting KO'd could just SD to avoid giving a point to another player, and the new way of counting SDs prevents this behavior.
Moves with high self-destruction risks may be Marth's and Lucina's Critical Hit (Roy does not have this problem), Bowser's Flying Slam (if Bowser and his target go over the ledge), Ike's Great Aether if there is no platform in the middle to stop his descent, Robin's Nosferatu, Kirby's Inhale off the ledge (if Kirby gets a hold of his target, causing a Sacrificial KO) and the Hero's Kamikazee technique with his Command Selection.