Diffidence

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Dictionary Meaning and Definition on 'Diffidence'

Diffidence Meaning and Definition from WordNet (r) 2.0
    diffidence n : lack of self-confidence [syn: self-doubt, self-distrust] [ant: confidence]
Diffidence Meaning and Definition from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
    Diffidence \Dif"fi*dence\, n. [L. diffidentia.]
  1. The state of being diffident; distrust; want of confidence; doubt of the power, ability, or disposition of others. [Archaic] That affliction grew heavy upon me, and weighed me down even to a diffidence of God's mercy. --Donne.
  2. Distrust of one's self or one's own powers; lack of self-reliance; modesty; modest reserve; bashfulness. It is good to speak on such questions with diffidence. --Macaulay. An Englishman's habitual diffidence and awkwardness of address. --W. Irving. Syn: Humility; bashfulness; distrust; suspicion; doubt; fear; timidity; apprehension; hesitation. See Humility, and Bashfulness.
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Wikipedia Meaning and Definition on 'Diffidence'


In humans, shyness (also called diffidence) is a social psychology term used to describe the feeling of apprehension, lack of comfort, or awkwardness experienced when a person is in proximity to, approaching, or being approached by other people, especially in new situations or with unfamiliar people. Shyness may come from genetic traits, the environment in which a person is raised and personal experiences. There are many degrees of shyness. Stronger forms are usually referred to as social anxiety or social phobia. Shyness may merely be a personality trait or can occur at certain stages of development in children. Shyness has also a strong cultural dimension.

In biology, shy generally means "tends to avoid human beings"; See crypsis. Shyness in gorillas manifests with ostensibly similar behavioral traits, but differs wholly from humans in cognition and motivation.

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