from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The quality or state of being diffident; timidity or shyness.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The state of being diffident, timid or shy; reticence or self-effacement.
  • n. Mistrust, distrust, lack of confidence in someone or something.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The state of being diffident; distrust; want of confidence; doubt of the power, ability, or disposition of others.
  • n. Distrust of one's self or one's own powers; lack of self-reliance; modesty; modest reserve; bashfulness.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Distrust; want of confidence in regard to anything; doubt of the ability or disposition of others.
  • n. More especially, distrust of one's self; want of confidence in one's own ability, worth, or fitness; retiring disposition; modest reserve; shyness.
  • n. Synonyms Modesty, Shyness, etc. (see bashfulness), fear, timidity, hesitation, apprehension.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. lack of self-confidence


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Some were put off by what they termed his diffidence, his driving ambition and perfectionism.

    The Do-or-Die Men

  • And since monetary policy in a liquidity trap must work mainly through its effect on expectations, such diffidence is not only an abdication of responsibility; it undermines the effectiveness of whatever monetary expansion actually takes place.

    Matthew Yglesias » Monetary Policy in an Emergency

  • And George W. Bush's blatant diffidence is annoying, too -- not that he has even the tiniest shred of credibility left, but it would be nice if he sort of tried to say or do something comforting in these bleak days.

    For Whom The Bell Dingells - Swampland -

  • I differ with great diffidence from the learned Baron whose Oriental reading was extensive; but the tale does not seem to justify his explanations.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • So often one comes across a passage as perfectly cut and honed as that one, uttered with a certain diffidence and yet — as is frequent with perfectionists — the product of much silent labor, reflection, and, I might add, stoicism.

    The Immortal

  • But there was also a certain diffidence about coming once again to the Empire Club, for I would think the 11th or 12th time.

    Winning Without War

  • After that he felt much better and I feel better from the reflection that no doubt Lord Willingdon, Lord Byng, or even to go back into the past to that master of wit and eloquence, Lord Dufferin, that all of these may have experienced also a certain diffidence when they first went into action over the top of a Toronto luncheon table.

    Special Luncheon Meeting

  • With a certain diffidence, looking first to see if I would allow it, they gently pushed back my hat to look at my hair, drew back my sleeves, lifted my skirts, and laughed immoderately at my boots.

    Insulinde: Experiences of a Naturalist's Wife in the Eastern Archipelago

  • I had thought that I was born and had lived, devoid of that form of self consciousness which is called diffidence, although it is only an expression of egotism; but for the first time in my life I found myself ill at ease, and wondering if I was appearing to advantage.

    Princess Zara

  • And those with whom I shared the news, although excited no less than I, accepted them also with some degree of diffidence, which is only natural in Russians: life indulges us so rarely and so reluctantly.

    The Shield


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