1

shy

adjective \ ˈshī \

Definition of shy

shier or shyer play \ˈshī(-ə)r\; shiest or shyest play \ˈshī-əst\
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 saloons
  • Blackwood's

shyly

adverb

shyness

noun

Examples of shy in a Sentence

  1. I was painfully shy as a teenager.

  2. She was too shy to ask for help.

  3. He gave her a shy smile.

  4. Help yourself if you want more. Don't be shy.

Origin and Etymology of shy

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 1show

Synonym Discussion of shy

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

shy

verb

Definition of shy

shied; shying
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

Origin and Etymology of shy

derivative of 1shy


3

shy

noun

Definition of shy

plural shies
: a sudden start aside (as from fright)

Origin and Etymology of shy

derivative of 2shy


4

shy

verb

Definition of shy

shied; shying
intransitive verb
: to make a sudden throw
transitive verb
: to throw (an object) with a jerk : fling

Origin and Etymology of shy

of obscure origin


5

shy

noun

Definition of shy

plural shies
1 : the act of shying : toss, throw
2 : a verbal fling or attack
3 : cockshy

Origin and Etymology of shy

derivative of 4shy



SHY Defined for English Language Learners

shy

adjective

Definition of shy for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

1

shy

adjective \ ˈshī \

Definition of shy for Students

shier or shyer; shiest or shyest
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.

shyly

adverb
  • She smiled shyly.

shyness

noun

Synonym Discussion of shy

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.

2

shy

verb

Definition of shy for Students

shied; shying
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.


Seen and Heard

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