Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective diffident contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of diffident are bashful, coy, modest, and shy. While all these words mean "not inclined to be forward," diffident stresses a distrust of one's own ability or opinion that causes hesitation in acting or speaking.

felt diffident about raising an objection

When would bashful be a good substitute for diffident?

Although the words bashful and diffident have much in common, bashful implies a frightened or hesitant shyness characteristic of childhood and adolescence.

a bashful boy out on his first date

Where would coy be a reasonable alternative to diffident?

The meanings of coy and diffident largely overlap; however, coy implies a pretended shyness.

put off by her coy manner

In what contexts can modest take the place of diffident?

The synonyms modest and diffident are sometimes interchangeable, but modest suggests absence of undue confidence or conceit.

modest about her success

When can shy be used instead of diffident?

In some situations, the words shy and diffident are roughly equivalent. However, shy implies a timid reserve and a shrinking from familiarity or contact with others.

shy with strangers

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Cite this Entry

“Diffident.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/diffident. Accessed 29 May. 2024.

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