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[self-i-feys-muh nt, self-] /ˈsɛlf ɪˈfeɪs mənt, ˌsɛlf-/
the act or fact of keeping oneself in the background, as in humility.
Origin of self-effacement
First recorded in 1865-70
Related forms
self-effacing, adjective
self-effacingly, adverb
self-effacingness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for self-effacement
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He wondered, with a fresh burst of self-effacement, what people would say about it.

    Rope Holworthy Hall
  • And, with her faculty for self-effacement, he knew she would not be unhappy.

    The Patrician John Galsworthy
  • She had learnt the art of self-effacement to the point of showing no trace of being there at all.

    The Limit Ada Leverson
  • Her attitude toward him was perpetually one of self-effacement.

  • Did it dimly occur to him that the principle of this reserve was self-control and not self-effacement?

    Madame de Mauves Henry James
  • Altogether, his demands upon her were reasonable to the point of self-effacement.

    The Happy End Joseph Hergesheimer
  • Perhaps he had carried his principle of self-effacement too far.

  • Seclusion and self-effacement have hardly been synonymous with my euphonious name!

    Geraldine Farrar Geraldine Farrar
British Dictionary definitions for self-effacement


the act of making oneself, one's actions, etc, inconspicuous, esp because of humility or timidity
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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