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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. 2015.
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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
  • The youth sat down as directed, but reluctantly and with diffidence.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • His years of companionship with his mother had bred in him a sort of shyness, a diffidence.

    Cheerful--By Request Edna Ferber
  • At this point Wanhope hesitated with a kind of diffidence that was rather charming in him.

    Questionable Shapes William Dean Howells
  • The author is a first-rate poet, but it appears that he undertook this task with some diffidence.

  • Mr. Cruncher, with some diffidence, explained himself as meaning "Old Nick's."

    A Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens
  • Lowly self-estimation is by no means a constant accompaniment of diffidence.

    Ernest Linwood Caroline Lee Hentz
  • The diffidence of his tone proved startling to her by virtue of its unusualness.

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

    Tony Butler Charles James Lever
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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