Dictionary

diffident

adjective dif·fi·dent \ˈdi-fə-dənt, -ˌdent\

: lacking confidence : not feeling comfortable around people

: very careful about acting or speaking

Full Definition of DIFFIDENT

1
:  hesitant in acting or speaking through lack of self-confidence
2
archaic :  distrustful
3
dif·fi·dent·ly adverb

Examples of DIFFIDENT

  1. She was diffident about stating her opinion.
  2. <for someone who makes a living performing for other people, the actress is remarkably diffident in real life>
  3. Being suspicious of conventions, demotic equals were often at a loss in their daily encounters: shall one act diffident or clamant of one's rights? —Jacques Barzun, From Dawn to Decadence, 2000

Origin of DIFFIDENT

Middle English, from Latin diffident-, diffidens, present participle of diffidere to distrust, from dis- + fidere to trust — more at bide
First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of DIFFIDENT

shy, bashful, diffident, modest, coy mean not inclined to be forward. shy implies a timid reserve and a shrinking from familiarity or contact with others <shy with strangers>. bashful implies a frightened or hesitant shyness characteristic of childhood and adolescence <a bashful boy out on his first date>. diffident stresses a distrust of one's own ability or opinion that causes hesitation in acting or speaking <felt diffident about raising an objection>. modest suggests absence of undue confidence or conceit <modest about her success>. coy implies a pretended shyness <put off by her coy manner>.
DIFFIDENT Defined for Kids

diffident

adjective dif·fi·dent \ˈdi-fə-dənt\

Definition of DIFFIDENT for Kids

1
:  lacking confidence <With encouragement he became less diffident.>
2
:  cautious about acting or speaking <“Speak out, my boy—don't be diffident.” — Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer>

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