1

coy

adjective \ ˈkȯi \

Definition of coy

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

coyly

adverb

coyness

noun

Examples of coy in a Sentence

  1. 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 BurumaNew Republic31 Jan. 2000
  2. 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. DickersonTime8 Mar. 1999
  3. And there's Julia, the charming "chatterbot" (a text-based computer character), whose coy pickup banter echoes that of real-life Internet flirts. —Michiko KakutaniAlbany (New York) Times-Union20 Aug. 1997
  4. I didn't like her coy manner.

  5. He gave a coy answer.

Recent Examples of coy from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of coy

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

Synonym Discussion of coy

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

2

coy

verb \ ˈkȯi \

Definition of coy

transitive verb
obsolete :caress
intransitive verb
archaic :to act coyly (see 1coy)

Recent Examples of coy from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of coy

see 1coy



COY Defined for English Language Learners

coy

adjective

Definition of coy for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

coy

adjective \ ˈkȯi \

Definition of coy for Students

:falsely shy or modest

History for coy

Coy now usually means “pretending to be shy,” but earlier in the history of English it meant just “shy” as well as “quiet.” English borrowed the word from medieval French. In French, it comes, by regular changes in sound, from Latin quietus, which—borrowed directly from Latin into English—gives us the word quiet.



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