[self-i-feys-muh nt, self-]


the act or fact of keeping oneself in the background, as in humility.

Origin of self-effacement

First recorded in 1865–70
Related formsself-ef·fac·ing, adjectiveself-ef·fac·ing·ly, adverbself-ef·fac·ing·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for self-effacement

Contemporary Examples of self-effacement

  • "I'm just a hack," he says, sincerely, although I believe his self-effacement doubles as a cover.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Knowing Bill Cunningham

    Philip Gefter

    March 22, 2010

  • This will require patience and self-effacement from a man accustomed to dominating the economic-policy discussion.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Bernanke Vs. Summers?

    Jeff Madrick

    August 26, 2009

Historical Examples of self-effacement

  • He wondered, with a fresh burst of self-effacement, what people would say about it.


    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

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