Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective coy contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of coy are bashful, diffident, modest, and shy. While all these words mean "not inclined to be forward," coy implies a pretended shyness.

put off by her coy manner

Where would bashful be a reasonable alternative to coy?

While in some cases nearly identical to coy, bashful implies a frightened or hesitant shyness characteristic of childhood and adolescence.

a bashful boy out on his first date

When would diffident be a good substitute for coy?

While the synonyms diffident and coy are close in meaning, diffident stresses a distrust of one's own ability or opinion that causes hesitation in acting or speaking.

felt diffident about raising an objection

When is it sensible to use modest instead of coy?

The meanings of modest and coy largely overlap; however, modest suggests absence of undue confidence or conceit.

modest about her success

When could shy be used to replace coy?

In some situations, the words shy and coy are roughly equivalent. However, shy implies a timid reserve and a shrinking from familiarity or contact with others.

shy with strangers

Thesaurus Entries Near coy

Cite this Entry

“Coy.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on coy

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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