shy

adjective
\ˈshī \
shier or shyer\ˈshī(-​ə)r \; shiest or shyest\ˈshī-​əst \

Definition of shy 

(Entry 1 of 5)

1 : easily frightened : timid

2 : disposed to avoid a person or thing publicity shy

3 : hesitant in committing oneself : circumspect

4 : sensitively diffident or retiring : reserved also : expressive of such a state or nature a shy smile

6 : having less than the full or specified amount or number : short just shy of six feet tall

7 : disreputable gambling hells and shy saloonsBlackwood's

shy

verb (1)
shied; shying

Definition of shy (Entry 2 of 5)

intransitive verb

1 : to develop or show a dislike or distaste usually used with from or away from an author who shies away from publicity

2 : to start suddenly aside through fright or alarm

shy

noun (1)
plural shies

Definition of shy (Entry 3 of 5)

: a sudden start aside (as from fright)

shy

verb (2)
shied; shying

Definition of shy (Entry 4 of 5)

intransitive verb

: to make a sudden throw

transitive verb

: to throw (an object) with a jerk : fling

shy

noun (2)
plural shies

Definition of shy (Entry 5 of 5)

1 : the act of shying : toss, throw

2 : a verbal fling or attack

3 : cockshy

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Other Words from shy

Adjective

shyly adverb
shyness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for shy

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

Adjective

shy and bashful mean feeling awkward around others. shy is used of someone who doesn't want to meet or talk with people either by habit or for special reasons. New students are often shy. bashful is used of someone who is shy and afraid like a very young child. He was too bashful to ask for a dance.

Examples of shy in a Sentence

Adjective

I was painfully shy as a teenager. She was too shy to ask for help. He gave her a shy smile. Help yourself if you want more. Don't be shy.
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First Known Use of shy

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (1)

1649, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (1)

1791, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

1787, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Noun (2)

1791, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for shy

Adjective

Middle English schey, going back to Old English scēoh, going back to West Germanic *skeuh(w)a- (whence also Middle High German schiehe, schiech "timid, despondent," and, with alteration or variant ablaut, Middle Dutch scu, scouw "timid"), perhaps extended form of Indo-European *(s)keu̯(H)- "perceive, watch" — more at show entry 1

Verb (1)

derivative of shy entry 1

Noun (1)

derivative of shy entry 2

Verb (2)

of obscure origin

Noun (2)

derivative of shy entry 4

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Learn More about shy

Dictionary Entries near shy

Shvernik

shwa

shwr

shy

shy (away) from

shy bladder

shyish

Statistics for shy

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shy

The first known use of shy was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for shy

shy

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of shy

: feeling nervous and uncomfortable about meeting and talking to people

: showing that you are nervous and uncomfortable about meeting and talking to people

: tending to avoid something because of nervousness, fear, dislike, etc.

shy

adjective
\ˈshī \
shier or shyer; shiest or shyest

Kids Definition of shy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : not feeling comfortable meeting and talking to people a shy awkward boy

2 : easily frightened : timid a shy kitten

3 : showing a dislike of attention a shy face

4 : tending to avoid something or someone I'm camera shy. Don't take my picture.

5 : having less than a full or an expected amount or number We were shy about ten dollars.

Other Words from shy

shyly adverb She smiled shyly.
shyness noun

shy

verb
shied; shying

Kids Definition of shy (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to avoid or draw back in dislike or distaste He shied from publicity.

2 : to move quickly to one side in fright The horse shied at the thunder.

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More from Merriam-Webster on shy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shy

Spanish Central: Translation of shy

Nglish: Translation of shy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shy for Arabic Speakers

Comments on shy

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