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  1. lacking confidence in one's own ability, worth, or fitness; timid; shy.
  2. restrained or reserved in manner, conduct, etc.
  3. Archaic. distrustful.

Origin of diffident

1425–75; late Middle English < Latin diffīdent- (stem of diffīdēns mistrusting, despairing, present participle of diffīdere), equivalent to dif- dif- + fīd- trust + -ent- -ent
Related formsdif·fi·dent·ly, adverbdif·fi·dent·ness, nounnon·dif·fi·dent, adjectivenon·dif·fi·dent·ly, adverbun·dif·fi·dent, adjectiveun·dif·fi·dent·ly, adverb

Synonyms for diffident

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for diffidently

Historical Examples of diffidently

British Dictionary definitions for diffidently


  1. lacking self-confidence; timid; shy
Derived Formsdiffidence, noundiffidently, adverb

Word Origin for diffident

C15: from Latin diffīdere to distrust, from dis- not + fīdere to trust
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

Word Origin and History for diffidently



mid-15c., from Latin diffidentem (nominative diffidens), present participle of diffidere (see diffidence). Related: Diffidently.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper