Diffidence vs difference

Diffidence and difference are two words that are sometimes confused. We sill examine the definitions of diffidence and difference, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Diffidence is shyness or excessive modesty stemming from a lack of self-confidence. Diffidence is a noun, the adjective form is diffident. The word diffidence is derived from the Latin word diffidentia, which means a lack of confidence, mistrust, failure to trust.

Difference describes the way in which two or more people or things are unalike, the condition of being dissimilar. Difference might also mean a disagreement. Difference is a noun, the verb form is differ, related words are differs, differed, differing. The word difference is derived from the Latin word differentia, which means diversity, an array dissimilar things.


In an instant, the diffidence has vanished: all of a sudden this pig seems to have made up his mind; all of a sudden this is a competitive pig, active and hungry and focused. (The Telegraph)

That such subterfuge was felt necessary despite the desperate need for private investment, says a lot about Indian politicians’ diffidence about selling reforms on merit and logic. (The Times of India)

However, what truly defies belief is the diffidence and incompetence displayed by those we charge to protect us. (The Express)

This year’s event is being held in memory of Sandra Thompson-Hopgood, co-founder of Midtown Make a Difference Day and former director of the Everette Hodge Community Center. (The Daily Freeman)

AS final year students prepare to hit the job market, new research shows the stark difference in salaries across industries, including media, legal and marketing. (The Sun)

Leave a Comment