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American Dictionary of the English Language

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Diffidence


DIFFIDENCE, noun [Latin , to trust. See Faith.]

1. Distrust; want of confidence; any doubt of the power, ability or disposition of others. It is said there was a general diffidence of the strength and resources of the nation, and of the sincerity of the king.

2. More generally, distrust of ones self; want of confidence in our own power, competency, correctness or wisdom; a doubt respecting some personal qualification. We speak or write with diffidence when we doubt our ability to speak or write correctly or to the satisfaction of others. The effect of diffidence is some degree of reserve, modesty, timidity or bashfulness. Hence,

3. Modest reserve; a moderate degree of timidity or bashfulness; as, he addressed the audience or the prince with diffidence