V2 Vocabulary Building Dictionary



Definition: 1. hesitant due to lack of self-confidence; 2. reserved or restrained in behavior

Synonyms: reserved, unassertive, bashful, restrained, hesitant, distrustful, doubtful, insecure, modest, self-effacing, sheepish

Antonyms: outgoing, loquacious, brazen, unabashed

Tips: Diffident comes from the Latin word fidere, "to trust," with the addition of the "dis-" prefix, which makes its meaning negative. A diffident person is distrustful of something, usually of making a mistake in a social situation, or seems distrustful. The noun diffidence refers to hesitation or reluctance. For a memory trick, think, diffident is different/opposite of confident. The Latin prefix con means "with," so confident means "with trust," while diffident means "without trust."

Usage Examples:

Kate didn't know anyone at the party, so she was diffident whenever someone approached her to chat. (reserved, bashful)

Outward diffidence may sometimes be mistaken for snobbishness, but the two qualities have nothing in common. (reserve, restraint) noun

Her intelligence was masked by her diffident behavior, which often made people think that she was dumb or didn't have anything to say. (unassertive, insecure)

Although he had volunteered to give the toast, on the day of the ceremony he became diffident and fearful of getting up in front of a crowd. (hesitant, insecure)

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