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She is diffident around adults, but dominant with her peer group.
  hesitant and unassertive — often due to a lack of self-confidence
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diffidence diffident diffidently
Standard suffix:  "ence" changes the adjective to a noun.
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  • She is diffident around adults, but dominant with her peer group.
  • At first, he could give no encouragement; with unfeigned diffidence, he expressed his conviction that he was not adequate to the performance of so great a task;
    Frederick Douglass  --  The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
  • Diffidently, Simon allowed his pace to slacken until he was walking side by side with Ralph and looking up at him through the coarse black hair that now fell to his eyes.
    William Golding  --  Lord of the Flies
  • Somehow we landed on the subject of Pim’s extreme diffidence.
    Anne Frank  --  The Diary of a Young Girl

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  • Speak out, my boy—don’t be diffident.
    Mark Twain  --  The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
  • My old fears, my diffidence, my shyness, my hopeless sense of inferiority, must be conquered now and thrust aside.
    Daphne du Maurier  --  Rebecca
  • Here I am, a shy, diffident sort of man.
    George Bernard Shaw  --  Pygmalion
  • After a time he began to sidle near to the youth, and in a diffident way try to make him a friend.
    Stephen Crane  --  The Red Badge of Courage
  • There were diffident raps at the factory window.
    Kurt Vonnegut  --  Slaughterhouse-Five
  • Gabriel waited again and then, fearing that diffidence was about to conquer him, he said abruptly: "By the way, Gretta!"
    James Joyce  --  Dubliners

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  • Blanquet spoke of this afterwards with much diffidence...
    Ernest Hemingway  --  For Whom the Bell Tolls
  • Buddy stood before him, diffident, smiling.
    Richard Wright  --  Native Son
  • He looked so stern that I grew alarmed.
    "Do not concern yourself," I said diffidently.
    Kamala Markandaya  --  Nectar in a Sieve
  • And since he was too diffident to confront homosexuality, and since little boys were insulting, scary, and stubborn, he further limited his interests to little girls.
    Toni Morrison  --  The Bluest Eye
  • So Cedric, sensing this diffident fascination, smiles at all comers but offers few openings.
    Ron Suskind  --  A Hope in the Unseen
  • He coughs diffidently.
    Tennessee Williams  --  A Streetcar Named Desire
  • I saw Roskus watching me ... diffident, secret, inarticulate and sad.
    William Faulkner  --  The Sound and the Fury
  • They had something in common - a kind of diffidence.
    Graham Greene  --  The Power and the Glory
  • His parents are diffident around Maxine, at first keeping their distance, not boisterous as they typically are around their Bengali friends.
    Jhumpa Lahiri  --  The Namesake
  • ...the habit of expressing myself in terms of modest diffidence; never using, when I advanced any thing that may possibly be disputed, the words certainly, undoubtedly, or any others that give the air of positiveness to an opinion; but rather say, I conceive or apprehend a thing to be so and so; it appears to me, or...
    Benjamin Franklin  --  The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
  • Not like a man who had been peacefully ill in bed and had recovered to move with a sort of diffident and tentative amazement in a world which he had believed himself on the point of surrendering,
    William Faulkner  --  Absalom, Absalom!
  • Aziz was full of civilization this evening, complete, dignified, rather hard, and it was with diffidence that the other said: "Yes, certainly you must let off Miss Quested easily."
    E.M. Forster  --  A Passage to India
  • He began a little diffidently, avoiding her gaze, but he gathered courage as he went along.
    Arundhati Roy  --  The God of Small Things
  • Gitano laid his hat on the floor and diffidently sat down.  He wouldn’t reach for food. Carl had to pass it to him.
    John Steinbeck  --  The Red Pony
  • He talked quietly and easily, with a diffidence which Leamas had never seen in him before.
    John Le Carre  --  The Spy Who Came In From The Cold
  • voice sounded diffident
    Robert A. Heinlein  --  The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
  • Mona shrugged, diffident.
    Gish Jen  --  Typical American
  • But with her he’d been diffident, moody, unavailable too many times she needed him.
    Dave Eggers  --  The Circle
  • When I tried to examine the abrasion more closely she shook me off, her hands raised diffidently in that long-familiar gesture of hers, as if my closeness were an unbearable weight.
    Chang-rae Lee  --  A Gesture Life
  • Feeling suffocatingly weak and ill again, she asked Sholom Weiss in a diffident voice where the catalogue file would be in which she might find listed the works of the nineteenth-century American poet Emil Dickens.
    William Styron  --  Sophie’s Choice
  • I sat down near him and leaned back against a rock, watching him a little diffidently.
    Diana Gabaldon  --  Outlander
  • Princess Mary seemed even quieter and more diffident than usual.
    Leo Tolstoy  --  War and Peace
  • The strangest part of life in the United States, Shamsoun said, was the diffidence of Americans toward refugees and immigrants.
    Warren St. John  --  Outcasts United
  • The sketch lay on the Chinese artist’s table, and the artist stepped aside diffidently, in silence.
    Ayn Rand  --  The Fountainhead
  • When he did not respond, she diffidently left.
    Christopher Paolini  --  Eragon
  • He was a slight man of about thirty-two with tan hair and brown diffident eyes.
    Joseph Heller  --  Catch-22
  • Young men should be diffident of themselves, you know, M. Clerval: I was myself when young; but that wears out in a very short time.
    Mary Shelley  --  Frankenstein
  • I asked, with awkward diffidence.
    Charlotte Bronte  --  Jane Eyre
  • His voice was diffident, yet oddly firm.
    Ayn Rand  --  Atlas Shrugged
  • As he had shown no diffidence on the subject, I ventured on the liberty of asking him the question, when he stood before me, dusting his hands.
    Charles Dickens  --  Great Expectations
  • Without scruple—without apology—without much apparent diffidence, Mr. Elton, the lover of Harriet, was professing himself her lover.
    Jane Austen  --  Emma
  • Whereas Sirius had sought to advertise his diffidence from the rest of the family, Regulus had striven to em-phasize the opposite.
    J.K. Rowling  --  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  • "Oh, I was in market research, to begin with," he says diffidently.
    Margaret Atwood  --  The Handmaid’s Tale
  • "Say on," said I, listening to his talk; "how do you propose to make up for my diffidence, and reduce to order this chaos of perplexity I am in?"
    Miguel de Cervantes  --  Don Quixote
  • Even with Honey, with whom he had an unspoken understanding of marriage when he came into his property next fall, he was diffident and silent.
    Margaret Mitchell  --  Gone with the Wind
  • Provincial diffidence, that slight varnish, the ephemeral flower, that down of the peach, had evaporated to the winds through the little orthodox counsels which the three Musketeers gave their friend.
    Alexandre Dumas  --  The Three Musketeers
  • He spoke with the diffidence of a man who knew how slight a thing would overset the delicate organisation of the mind, and yet with the confidence of a man who had slowly won his assurance out of personal endurance and distress.
    Charles Dickens  --  A Tale of Two Cities
  • The subject appeared to interest the gentleman deeply; for while Mr. Shelby was thoughtfully peeling an orange, Haley broke out afresh, with becoming diffidence, but as if actually driven by the force of truth to say a few words more.
    Harriet Beecher Stowe  --  Uncle Tom’s Cabin
  • Now, Mr. Bhaer was a diffident man and slow to offer his own opinions, not because they were unsettled, but too sincere and earnest to be lightly spoken.
    Louisa May Alcott  --  Little Women
  • A hundred youths, who had hitherto been restrained by the diffidence of their years, rushed in a frantic body on the fancied emblem of their enemy, and severed it asunder, splinter by splinter, until nothing remained of the trunk but its roots in the earth.
    James Fenimore Cooper  --  The Last of the Mohicans
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Associated words [difficulty]:   diffident [3]
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Most commonly used in these subjects:   Classic Literature, Logic & Reasoning, Religion - Christianity
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