Latin present participle of diffidere ("to mistrust")
diffident (comparative more diffident, superlative most diffident)
- (archaic): Lacking confidence in others; distrustful.
- Lacking confidence in one's self; distrustful of one's own powers; not self-reliant; timid; modest; bashful; characterized by modest reserve.
- 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, Book IV, chapter viii
- Having therefore—but hold, as we are diffident of our own abilities, let us here invite a superior power to our assistance.
1960, P. G. Wodehouse, Jeeves in the Offing, chapter VIII:
- At an early point in these exchanges I had started to sidle to the door, and I now sidled through it, rather like a diffident crab on some sandy beach trying to avoid the attentions of a child with a spade.
lacking confidence in one's self