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self-effacing
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self-effacing
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  • Although she is shy and self-effacing, she is fiercely competitive.
  • Finnick’s real charms of self-effacing humor and an easygoing nature are on display for the first time.
    Suzanne Collins  --  Mockingjay
  • He cracked a self-effacing grin.
    Gillian Flynn  --  Gone Girl
  • Mae had discovered all this one Thanksgiving at Annie’s house, with twenty-odd relatives there, all with their thin noses, their pink skin, their weak eyes hidden behind forty lenses, when she became aware, during an appropriately self-effacing conversation—for Annie’s family was equally unwilling to talk too much or care too much about their lineage—that some distant relative of theirs had been at the very first Thanksgiving.
    Dave Eggers  --  The Circle

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  • I am glad to be living with this kind couple, whose quiet, self-effacing manner I am coming to understand.
    Christina Baker Kline  --  Orphan Train
  • She had so seldom thought of her mother, that sweet dim self-effacing soul, and now for a moment she could only think of her mother’s elegant expressive pianist’s hands, strong-fingered, at once supple and gentle, like one of the Chopin nocturnes she played, the ivory skin reminding her of the muted white of lilacs.
    William Styron  --  Sophie’s Choice
  • I had been demure, genteel, intelligent but self-effacing, well groomed, and quietly dressed—everything the Perfect Don’s Wife should be.
    Diana Gabaldon  --  Outlander
  • He was funny, candid, self-effacing.
    Dave Eggers  --  A Hologram for the King
  • He was trying to be self-effacing.
    James Patterson  --  1st to Die
  • They were my family’s friends and neighbors and coworkers, and before, their presence would have encouraged me to be quiet and self-effacing.
    Veronica Roth  --  Insurgent

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  • But he knew that she was enormously aware of him in her silent, self-effacing way.
    Ayn Rand  --  The Fountainhead
  • "I wouldn’t ever have it said that I stood in the way of a poor girl like Mattie marrying a smart fellow like Denis Eady," Zeena answered in a tone of plaintive self-effacement.
    Edith Wharton  --  Ethan Frome
  • She was seeing through Rhett’s eyes the passing, not of a woman but of a legend—the gentle, self-effacing but steel-spined women on whom the South had builded its house in war and to whose proud and loving arms it had returned in defeat.
    Margaret Mitchell  --  Gone with the Wind
  • And in Ira’s Pima culture being quiet and self-effacing was encouraged.
    James Bradley  --  Flags of Our Fathers
  • But some people, under a nervous and self-effacing manner, conceal a great deal of vanity and self-satisfaction.
    Agatha Christie  --  The ABC Murders
  • This self-effacement in both directions had been quite in consonance with her independent character of desiring nothing by way of favour or pity to which she was not entitled on a fair consideration of her deserts.
    Thomas Hardy  --  Tess of the d’Urbervilles
  • Never had this woman, who was such a fateful influence in his life, aroused such love in his breast, such new and unknown feeling, surprising even to himself, a feeling tender to devoutness, to self-effacement before her!
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky  --  The Brothers Karamazov
  • A solitude was tacitly created for her in the crowded existence of Bellomont, and her friends could not have shown a greater readiness for self-effacement had her wooing been adorned with all the attributes of romance.
    Edith Wharton  --  The House of Mirth
  • It was not an easy task: her soulher sad, timid, self-effacing soullay concealed in the depths of her bowels and was ashamed to show itself.
    Milan Kundera  --  The Unbearable Lightness of Being
  • If she had been told she was in love, she would have been a good deal surprised; for she had an idea that love was an eager and exacting passion, and her own heart was filled in these days with the impulse of self-effacement and sacrifice.
    Henry James  --  Washington Square
  • The man he approached was Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, Jr. A dead ringer for actor Jimmy Stewart, Vanderbilt was a gangly twenty-five-yearold whose gentle, self-effacing manner belied his fabulous wealth.
    Laura Hillenbrand  --  Seabiscuit
  • yet viscerally seductive in the manner of Southern women, that taloned species who speak with restrained and self-effacing drawls, fill a room with elegance and vulnerability, move with the grace of wind-tilted cane, and rule their families with a secret pact of steel.
    Pat Conroy  --  The Lords of Discipline
  • At half-past ten Tibby, with rare self-effacement, fell asleep, and Margaret was able to drive her aunt to the station.
    E.M. Forster  --  Howards End
  • The old instinct of deference and humility was there; the habit of decent self-effacement and knowledge of her "own place."
    Henry James  --  The American
  • However, whenever his eyes met David’s father’s, the expression on his face tended to freeze into one of ingratiating self-effacement.
    Henry Roth  --  Call It Sleep
  • But when I reflect back on my surgical training, I’m indebted to a small, dark man, a self-effacing surgeon whom the world might never celebrate.
    Abraham Verghese  --  Cutting for Stone
  • I thought he might shift from the self-effacing Abnegation leader to the nightmare I knew at home, that he might lash out and reveal himself for who he is.
    Veronica Roth  --  Allegiant
  • The only reason for that which she put into words, to be self-effacing, was that the Raineys were Methodists; and yet she did not, basically, understand a slight.
    Eudora Welty  --  The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty
  • The only reason for that which she put into words, to be self-effacing, was that the Raineys were Methodists; and yet she did not, basically, understand a slight.
    Eudora Welty  --  The Golden Apples
  • Totally out of character, but in case anyone should ever refer to them, he had better restudy the "facts" so he could at least nod in self-effacing modesty.
    Robert Ludlum  --  The Bourne Ultimatum
  • She reminds me of my mother; what I loved most in Mother was her self-effacement, her ’dimness,’ as they say, and it’s she I’ve always wanted to get back to.
    Albert Camus  --  The Plague
  • Attolia saw his smile, without any hint of self-effacement or flattery or opportunism, a smile wholly unlike that of any member of her court, and she hit him across the face with her open hand.
    Megan Whalen Turner  --  Queen of Attolia
  • He was tall, with a clean jaw and modest mustache, and wore a cheap suit; in his thirties; good looking, in a way, but at the same time self-effacing and plain—though at the moment he appeared to be angry.
    Erik Larson  --  The Devil in the White City
  • Esther Winship’s apartment was lavishly understated, beiges, off-whites, great staid sofas that did not give when you sat, and expanses of dunnish rug, deep-piled, and almost no pictures, and the few pictures Esther elected to hang were self-effacing to the point of who cares, and the place had so much attitude, all tension and edge, that Jack seemed largely lost here.
    Don DeLillo  --  Underworld
  • The secret of life was literally bottomless, and it was no wonder, then, that occasionally there rose up out of it illusions that—and so on and so forth, in our hero’s amiably self-effacing and exceedingly easy manner.
    Thomas Mann  --  The Magic Mountain
  • And when they do describe a distinctive trait of his, it’s always the same: Ira’s total silence, his self-effacement: "Ira was very shy," Buddy Lewis told me.
    James Bradley  --  Flags of Our Fathers
  • He glanced up and dared a self-effacing smile.
    Megan Whalen Turner  --  Queen of Attolia
  • I tried to make it sound self-effacing—yet another thing I’m not good at—but the detectives weren’t biting.
    Gillian Flynn  --  Gone Girl
  • We all learned things from that extraordinary mind, the finest in our profession, yet so self-effacing, so … je ne sais quoi … so ’why not try it,’ yes?
    Robert Ludlum  --  The Bourne Ultimatum
  • He had had an astute business manager, a mild, self-effacing little man of iron who, in the days of his glory, faced quietly the storms of Cameron’s temper and brought him clients; Cameron insulted the clients, but the little man made them accept it and come back.
    Ayn Rand  --  The Fountainhead
  • For once, I was pleased to be modestly self-effacing, scrunching back into the corner and leaving Jamie to deal with the rough teasing and bawdy speculations about what we had been doing all day.
    Diana Gabaldon  --  Outlander
  • George, the black bartender, was dispensing drinks with all the self-effacing joviality required of his station.
    Pat Conroy  --  The Lords of Discipline
  • Around Melanie’s tactful and self-effacing person, there rapidly grew up a clique of young and old who represented what was left of the best of Atlanta’s ante-bellum society, all poor in purse, all proud in family, die-hards of the stoutest variety.
    Margaret Mitchell  --  Gone with the Wind
  • …the impression of a very energetic, prudent, and—despite his elegance—cold, practical man of business; but when traveling in regions whose customs were strange to him, in the south of Germany, for instance, he was all too quick to be polite and self-effacing and assumed a certain impetuous amiability, which was in no way the result of insecurity about his own culture, but on the contrary reflected both an awareness of its solid integrity and a desire to improve on his own aristocratic…
    Thomas Mann  --  The Magic Mountain
  • Tarrou lays stress above all on Mme. Rieux’s self-effacement, her way of explaining things in the simplest possible words, her predilection for a special window at which she always sat in the early evening, holding herself rather straight, her hands at rest, her eyes fixed on the quiet street below, until twilight filled the room and she showed among the gathering shadows as a motionless black form which gradually merged into the invading darkness.
    Albert Camus  --  The Plague
  • In a voice that trembled with agony and hatred, and once again with despair, the frail and self-effacing woman shouted out to us: "Get them, boys.
    Pat Conroy  --  The Lords of Discipline
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