Definition of diffident in English:


Line breaks: dif|fi¦dent
Pronunciation: /ˈdɪfɪd(ə)nt


Modest or shy because of a lack of self-confidence: a diffident youth
More example sentences
  • He made sure that his furniture received the maximum publicity at international fairs, although he came across as a surprisingly diffident and modest man.
  • Emotionally diffident, he lacks the physical and dramatic force to invest the role with heroism.
  • He looked rather sheepish and diffident, hands in pockets and a nervous grin on his face.
shy, bashful, modest, self-effacing, unassuming, unpresuming, humble, meek, unconfident, unassertive, timid, timorous, shrinking, reserved, withdrawn, introverted, inhibited;
insecure, self-doubting, doubtful, wary, unsure, apprehensive, uncertain, hesitant, nervous, reluctant, fearful;
self-conscious, ill at ease, ashamed, abashed, embarrassed, shamefaced, sheepish;
Scottish mim
informal mousy


late Middle English (in the sense 'lacking confidence or trust in someone or something'): from Latin diffident- 'failing in trust', from the verb diffidere, from dis- (expressing reversal) + fidere 'to trust'.



More example sentences
  • ‘I think it shows someone romantic, really,’ he says diffidently.
  • During the course of the conversation it was suggested somewhat diffidently that I might like to join the Labour party, for whose candidates I have never failed to vote.
  • ‘Today I'm not wanting to go into past controversies,’ he said, looking diffidently at the floor.

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