coy

adjective
\ ˈkȯi How to pronounce coy (audio) \

Definition of coy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : marked by cute, coquettish, or artful playfulness using coy tricks to attract attention
b : shrinking from contact or familiarity "'Tis but a kiss I beg, Why art thou coy?"— William Shakespeare
2 : showing reluctance to make a definite commitment a coy response

coy

verb
coyed; coying; coys

Definition of coy (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

obsolete : caress

intransitive verb

archaic : to act coyly (see coy entry 1)

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from coy

Adjective

coyly adverb
coyness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for coy

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

  • uncoy
Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for coy

Adjective

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 strangers bashful 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 success coy implies a pretended shyness. put off by her coy manner

Examples of coy in a Sentence

Adjective It is distinctly odd to read a whole page dedicated to Hitler's life and character without a reference to his anti-Semitism. To say that Swiss banks contained gold coming from the bank accounts, the jewelry boxes, and the teeth of "concentration camp victims" is a little coy. — Ian Buruma, New Republic, 31 Jan. 2000 Rival camps are terrified that Bush will reject federal matching funds and the campaign-spending limits they impose, and Bush's aides are coy on the subject. — John F. Dickerson, Time, 8 Mar. 1999 And there's Julia, the charming "chatterbot" (a text-based computer character), whose coy pickup banter echoes that of real-life Internet flirts. — Michiko Kakutani, Albany (New York) Times-Union, 20 Aug. 1997 I didn't like her coy manner. He gave a coy answer.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The actor previously remained coy about his participation in the upcoming revival, which will be executive produced by Parker, 56, as well as her costars Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon. Ally Mauch, PEOPLE.com, 26 May 2021 Cameras zoomed in on an actress playing a dealer of fine art — chicly dressed in a pencil skirt made from bold African textiles — who offered a coy smile as an old flame stepped into her gallery. New York Times, 10 May 2021 Murkowski filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission on March 9 but has not officially announced her reelection bid and has been somewhat coy about her 2022 intentions. Manu Raju And Alex Rogers, CNN, 19 Apr. 2021 Trump has remained coy about his plans for the next presidential election, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, has welcomed his help in the midterm elections. W. James Antle Iii, Washington Examiner, 14 Apr. 2021 Mr Ahmadinejad, for his part, remains coy about his future. The Economist, 20 Feb. 2021 Spears was wholesome and demure with a touch of coy distance, all hallmarks of a southern Christian upbringing. Craig Jenkins, Vulture, 17 Feb. 2021 That’s been the coy approach of the four Republican congressmen in our area who haven’t yet admitted that Biden won. Washington Post, 23 Nov. 2020 Jordan addressed the news on Friday with a coy tweet featuring a Static comic book cover. Tyler Aquilina, EW.com, 17 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'coy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of coy

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for coy

Adjective and Verb

Middle English, quiet, shy, from Anglo-French quoi, quei, koi quiet, from Latin quietus

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About coy

Time Traveler for coy

Time Traveler

The first known use of coy was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for coy

Last Updated

5 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Coy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/coy. Accessed 21 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for coy

coy

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of coy

: having a shy or sweetly innocent quality that is often intended to be attractive or to get attention
: not telling or revealing all the information that could be revealed

coy

adjective
\ ˈkȯi How to pronounce coy (audio) \

Kids Definition of coy

: falsely shy or modest

More from Merriam-Webster on coy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for coy

Nglish: Translation of coy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of coy for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Return of Name that Color!

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!