dif·​fi·​dence | \ ˈdi-fə-dən(t)s How to pronounce diffidence (audio) , -fə-ˌden(t)s \

Definition of diffidence

: the quality or state of being unassertive or bashful : the quality or state of being diffident

Examples of diffidence in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Even within the New England heartland, Connecticut’s Ted Kennedy Jr. backed out of his own statewide bid in a display of distinctly un-Kennedy-like diffidence. Kevin Mahnken, The New Republic, "The Haunting of Joe Kennedy III," 1 Sep. 2020 King-Lu draws Cookie out of his melancholy diffidence, while Cookie calms some of his friend’s restlessness. New York Times, "‘First Cow’ Review: The Milk of Human Kindness," 3 Mar. 2020 Trapped by governmental controls and near-negligible growth rates, there was a diffidence that lasted for decades since Independence. S. Gopikrishna Warrier, Quartz India, "Like unchecked growth, economic decline too can have environmental fallouts in India," 20 Jan. 2020 His touch is humane, restrained sometimes to the point of diffidence, but genuinely interested in locating small and large truths within broad comic concepts. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "‘Tel Aviv on Fire’ review: Playing an Israeli/Palestinian soap opera for laughs," 29 July 2019 Only resolution and resourcefulness, not diffidence and jokes, will secure victory. Kyle Smith, National Review, "Who Is Boris Johnson?," 19 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'diffidence.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of diffidence

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for diffidence

Middle English dyffidence, borrowed from Latin diffīdentia, from diffīdent-, diffīdens "distrustful, diffident" + -ia -ia entry 1

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Time Traveler for diffidence

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The first known use of diffidence was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Diffidence.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diffidence. Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

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