mid-15c., "distrustful, wanting confidence in another's power," from Latin diffidentem (nominative diffidens), present participle of diffidere "to mistrust, lack confidence," from dis- "away" (see dis-) + fidere "to trust" (from PIE root *bheidh- "to trust, confide, persuade"). Original sense is obsolete; modern sense of "distrustful of oneself, not confident" is by 1713. Compare diffidence. Related: Diffidently.
updated on October 13, 2021