Thesaurus

shy

adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms of shy

(Entry 1 of 2)

2 not comfortable around people
  • a shy person who finds talking to anyone but a close friend to be an awkward and unpleasant experience

Synonyms for shy

Words Related to shy

Near Antonyms for shy

Antonyms for shy

shy

verb

Synonyms & Antonyms of shy (Entry 2 of 2)

as in start, flinch

Synonyms & Near Synonyms for shy

Antonyms & Near Antonyms for shy

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Frequently Asked Questions About shy

How does the adjective shy contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of shy are bashful, coy, diffident, and modest. While all these words mean "not inclined to be forward," shy implies a timid reserve and a shrinking from familiarity or contact with others.

shy with strangers

When can bashful be used instead of shy?

The words bashful and shy are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, bashful implies a frightened or hesitant shyness characteristic of childhood and adolescence.

a bashful boy out on his first date

When might coy be a better fit than shy?

While the synonyms coy and shy are close in meaning, coy implies a pretended shyness.

put off by her coy manner

In what contexts can diffident take the place of shy?

In some situations, the words diffident and shy are roughly equivalent. However, 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 could modest be used to replace shy?

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

modest about her success

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Time Traveler for shy

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Cite this Entry

“Shy.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/shy. Accessed 21 Sep. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on shy

Nglish: Translation of shy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shy for Arabic Speakers

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