shy, bashful, diffident, modest, coy mean not inclined to be forward. shy implies a timid reserve and a shrinking from familiarity or contact with others.
shy with strangersbashful implies a frightened or hesitant shyness characteristic of childhood and adolescence.
a bashful boy out on his first date diffident stresses a distrust of one's own ability or opinion that causes hesitation in acting or speaking.
felt diffident about raising an objection modest suggests absence of undue confidence or conceit.
modest about her successcoy implies a pretended shyness.
put off by her coy manner
The Roots of Bashful
The adjective suffix -ful has a number of different senses, most of which have very little to do with "full of." In the case of bashful, -ful means "having the qualities of." This sense of -ful was combined with an obsolete verb bash meaning "to be abashed” (that is, dismayed or embarrassed) to form bashful, which literally means “having the qualities of being abashed.” This combination of a verb with -ful is also seen in mournful, which literally means “having the qualities of mourning.”
Examples of bashful in a Sentence
bashful boys asking girls to dance
a bashful child who hid in his room whenever there were visitors in the house
Recent Examples on the WebWhile right-wing parties show clear opposition to any relaxation on drug policy, the left-wing Democratic Party’s position on cannabis is bashful because of the fear of clashing with the right-wing coalition and lose voters.
Dario Sabaghi, Forbes, 13 Sep. 2021 Most of our hollies have been bashful about producing fruit this year.
Neil Sperry, San Antonio Express-News, 19 Nov. 2021 Rudy Zamora-Herrera isn’t as bashful about his birria bona fides.
Washington Post, 16 Nov. 2021 And Stewart, like Diana, has a bashful effect that the camera adores.
Meredith Blake, Los Angeles Times, 8 Nov. 2021 In Baltimore, Harbaugh has not been bashful about his pursuit of history.
Jonas Shaffer, baltimoresun.com, 8 Oct. 2021 But Awaken has not been bashful about its resistance to pandemic directives since the onset.
San Diego Union-Tribune, 30 Sep. 2021 Most prognosticators thought Emma Corrin was a lock for portraying the young, bashful Princess Diana.
Meredith Blake, Los Angeles Times, 19 Sep. 2021 Truhan is not bashful about admitting that that day in September was the most traumatic day of his 22-year career in the Secret Service.
Brenda Cain, cleveland, 6 Sep. 2021
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bashful.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.