Words related to diffident
word-forming element of Latin origin meaning 1. "lack of, not" (as in dishonest); 2. "opposite of, do the opposite of" (as in disallow); 3. "apart, away" (as in discard), from Old French des- or directly from Latin dis- "apart, asunder, in a different direction, between," figuratively "not, un-," also "exceedingly, utterly." Assimilated as dif- before -f- and to di- before most voiced consonants.
The Latin prefix is from PIE *dis- "apart, asunder" (source also of Old English te-, Old Saxon ti-, Old High German ze-, German zer-). The PIE root is a secondary form of *dwis- and thus is related to Latin bis "twice" (originally *dvis) and to duo, on notion of "two ways, in twain" (hence "apart, asunder").
In classical Latin, dis- paralleled de- and had much the same meaning, but in Late Latin dis- came to be the favored form and this passed into Old French as des-, the form used for compound words formed in Old French, where it increasingly had a privative sense ("not"). In English, many of these words eventually were altered back to dis-, while in French many have been altered back to de-. The usual confusion prevails.
As a living prefix in English, it reverses or negatives what it is affixed to. Sometimes, as in Italian, it is reduced to s- (as in spend, splay, sport, sdain for disdain, and the surnames Spencer and Spence).
It forms all or part of: abide; abode; affiance; affidavit; auto-da-fe; bide; bona fide; confederate; confidant; confide; confidence; confident; defiance; defy; diffidence; diffident; faith; fealty; federal; federate; federation; fiancee; fideism; fidelity; fiducial; fiduciary; infidel; infidelity; nullifidian; perfidy; solifidian.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek pistis "faith, confidence, honesty;" Latin fides "trust, faith, confidence, reliance, credence, belief;" Albanian be "oath," bindem "to be convinced, believe;" Old Church Slavonic beda "distress, necessity," bediti "to force, persuade;" Old English biddan "to ask, beg, pray," German bitten "to ask."
c. 1400, "distrust, want of confidence, doubt of the ability or disposition of others," from Latin diffidentia "mistrust, distrust, want of confidence," from diffidere "to mistrust, lack confidence," from dis- "away" (see dis-) + fidere "to trust" (from PIE root *bheidh- "to trust, confide, persuade"). The opposite of confidence. Original sense (distrust of others) is obsolete; the modern sense is of "distrust of oneself, want of confidence in one's ability, worth, or fitness" (1650s), hence "retiring disposition, modest reserve."
Diffidence is a defect: it is an undue distrust of self, with fear of being censured for failure, tending to unfit one for duty. [Century Dictionary]