Can you say unconfident? I heard it mentioned in Top Chef recently, where a chef mentioned she was unconfident with her cooking skills in a certain area.

Is this the correct way to describe the opposite of having confidence?

Is inconfidence a word? I have heard it mentioned as "lack of confidence".

I am not a native English speaker.

Update: I did look it up on m-w.com before posting but should of course have included my findings here. But I just noticed that I might have not just read the add. I thought m-w didn't have the word listed, but really the add says something different.

Oxford has it listed as someone mentions though.

To clarify, I'm asking if unconfident is the correct word to use for describing the opposite of being confident, mainly because "it sounded a bit odd to me", I thought inconfident might be more correct, but as someone mentions, that isn't a word. I personally preferred "I lack confidence in my skills" but I doubt you would hear that a lot in spoken language.

closed as unclear what you're asking by RegDwigнt Dec 1 '13 at 20:54

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    What does the dictionary say? – anotherdave Dec 1 '13 at 19:34
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    And hence why the upvote for lack of research? – Edwin Ashworth Dec 1 '13 at 19:42
  • This is three questions in one. Of which one and a half you immediately answer yourself. ("Can you say unconfident? I heard it". Well.) Also, as the top comment points out, dictionaries are a thing and should be the starting point for any "is it a word" question. If you still have questions left after that, you are welcome to edit your post to include the additional information. Right now it's all over the map. Please clarify what it is you are actually after. – RegDwigнt Dec 1 '13 at 21:00
  • There are no issues with unconfident. And inconfident = unconfident. Relax & enjoy. – Kris Dec 2 '13 at 10:07

I think "Doubtful" is the right word. I don't think unconfident is the correct word.

You can even use "Unsure" as the opposite of Confident.

The Oxford dictionary says:



not confident; hesitant:

the airmen were young, but not unconfident

very young people may have an unconfident approach

And it would be correct if the Top chef would have said that she was not confident with her cooking skills in a certain area.

Is inconfidence a word?

No there is no such word.

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    It depends what you mean by word. The OED has an entry for ‘inconfidence’ with two supporting citations, one from 1627 and one from 1811. The definition is given as ‘want of confidence, distrust’, but it is described as 'rare'. – Barrie England Dec 1 '13 at 19:47
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    No, doubtful doesn't fit at all. It is more often used for the information or situation about which there is doubt than for the person who is doing doubting; and it refers to a doubt about some specific outcome or answer, rather than a general sense of doubt. Unsure might do, but still would not necessarily be opposed to confident. – Colin Fine Dec 1 '13 at 19:47
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    And I think you mean "if the Top chef had said that she was not confident with ... ". – Colin Fine Dec 1 '13 at 19:49
  • @ColinFine:- Yes I meant confident. – Rahul Tripathi Dec 1 '13 at 19:50
  • @ColinFine possibly, in Indian English (I'm guessing from the poster's name,) doubtful, does carry the meaning of being unsure of one's abilities. If you doubt whether your expertise is up to standard, then you lack confidence. – Mari-Lou A Dec 1 '13 at 21:32

I would use 'lacking in confidence'.

'In some of my recipes I am lacking in confidence'

  • In some of your recipes? – Edwin Ashworth Dec 1 '13 at 19:42
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    @EdwinAshworth Yes, 'in' is correct isn't it? I could have said 'I lack confidence in some of my recipes'. Or does the use of the present continuous necessitate a change to 'with'. 'I am lacking in confidence with some of my recipes'? – WS2 Dec 1 '13 at 20:00
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    ?In the Government I have confidence? Perhaps in an oratorical register. I think 'have confidence in' normally behaves as a non-separable MWV. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 1 '13 at 21:26

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