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[dif-i-duh ns] /ˈdɪf ɪ dəns/
the quality or state of being diffident.
Origin of diffidence
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin diffīdentia mistrust, want of confidence. See diffident, -ence
Related forms
nondiffidence, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for diffidence
Historical Examples
  • Yet in his smiling good humour there was not a trace of bashfulness or diffidence.

    The History of David Grieve Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • Still Lucy spoke with diffidence, as she always did when she touched upon her faith.

    Country Neighbors Alice Brown
  • His years of companionship with his mother had bred in him a sort of shyness, a diffidence.

    Cheerful--By Request Edna Ferber
  • I had a singular instance of this diffidence in the autumn of last year.

    Old Familiar Faces Theodore Watts-Dunton
  • The author is a first-rate poet, but it appears that he undertook this task with some diffidence.

  • She apologized, but I felt that the diffidence was more politic than sincere.

    Desert Dust Edwin L. Sabin
  • Lowly self-estimation is by no means a constant accompaniment of diffidence.

    Ernest Linwood Caroline Lee Hentz
  • Had he been taken with a fit of diffidence, and been less precipitate than he intended?

    Hopes and Fears Charlotte M. Yonge
  • But my diffidence in doing so is such that I must approach it deviously, describing it first by means of a figure.

    The Human Machine E. Arnold Bennett
  • The Colonel noticed my diffidence, and gave me a searching look.

    Athelstane Ford Allen Upward
Word Origin and History for diffidence

c.1400, from Latin diffidentia "mistrust, distrust, want of confidence," from diffidere "to mistrust, lack confidence," from dis- "away" (see dis-) + fidere "to trust" (see faith). Modern sense is of "distrusting oneself" (1650s). The original sense was the opposite of confidence.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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