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- ...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...
diffidence = hesitancy and unassertiveness due to a lack of self-confidence
- Pope says, judiciously: "Men should be taught as if you taught them not, And things unknown propos'd as things forgot;" farther recommending to us "To speak, tho' sure, with seeming diffidence."
- Various concerns have for some time past prevented this letter being written, and I do not know whether it was worth any expectation; happening to be at leisure, however, at present, I shall by writing, at least interest and instruct myself; but as the terms I am inclined to use may tend to offend a person of your manners, I shall only tell you how I would address any other person, who was as good and as great as yourself, but less diffident.
There are no more uses of "diffident" in The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.
Typical Usage (best examples)