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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
Related forms
self-effacing, adjective
self-effacingly, adverb
self-effacingness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for self-effacing
  • The self-effacing but ferocious player never stands pat.
  • He drew with an efficient medium-weight line-not particularly bold and brash, but not anxious and self-effacing.
  • As compelling as she is on-screen, in real life she can be restrained and self-effacing to the point of blandness.
  • Though not exactly self-effacing, he is clearly more comfortable talking and thinking about subjects other than himself.
  • They tend to underestimate their own skills and are more self-effacing when describing their contributions to group efforts.
  • But he presents himself as self-effacing and penurious.
  • He's quite self-effacing and understands the humorous bits of our business.
  • The result is boldly self-effacing and self-insistent art.
  • Dave had a great sense of humor, often self-effacing.
  • Ryan had many mentors, and he's quite self-effacing in discussing them.
British Dictionary definitions for self-effacing


tending to make oneself, one's actions, etc, inconspicuous, esp because of humility or timidity; modest
Derived Forms
self-effacingly, adverb


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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Word Origin and History for self-effacing

1902, from self- + effacing (see efface). Self-effacement is recorded from 1866.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Difficulty index for self-effacement

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Quotes with self-effacing