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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for diffidence
Historical Examples
  • The youth sat down as directed, but reluctantly and with diffidence.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • At this point Wanhope hesitated with a kind of diffidence that was rather charming in him.

    Questionable Shapes William Dean Howells
  • Mr. Cruncher, with some diffidence, explained himself as meaning "Old Nick's."

    A Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens
  • His manner betrayed a curious mixture of diffidence and assurance.

    The Avenger E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • The diffidence of his tone proved startling to her by virtue of its unusualness.

    Mistress Wilding Rafael Sabatini
  • My friends are in the habit of amusing themselves with my diffidence and my timidity.

    Tony Butler Charles James Lever
  • With regard to all your diffidence of yourself, we laugh at it.

    Memoirs of the Courts and Cabinets of George the Third The Duke of Buckingham and Chandos
  • Lowly self-estimation is by no means a constant accompaniment of diffidence.

    Ernest Linwood Caroline Lee Hentz
  • But John's priestly tutors had schooled him in diffidence, if in nothing else.

    Fort Amity Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
  • When she spoke, it was with a touch of diffidence and hesitation in her voice.

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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