diffident - vocabulary

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diffident - adjective

Lacking confidence in one’s own ability or worth; timid, shy.
[Treasury Secretary Nicholas F. Brady] is bland on television and awkward as a public speaker. In a city of bombast and pomposity, Mr. Brady is unusually gentle and modest, a man who can and often does enter a restaurant or a large party unrecognized. At international meetings, he has taken pains not to stand out from the ministers of other countries. . . .

''In all my years in Washington,'' said an admirer who has served here in several different capacities in the Government over the last 35 years, ''I don't recall a Treasury Secretary as diffident as Brady.''

—David E. Rosenbaum “The Treasury's ‘Mr. Diffident’” New York Times, November 19, 1989
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