There are 2 main definitions of coy in English:

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coy 1

Pronunciation: /koi/

adjective (coyer, coyest)

1(Especially with reference to a woman) making a pretense of shyness or modesty that is intended to be alluring: she treated him to a coy smile of invitation
More example sentences
  • True, she's as coy and feminine as she wants to be.
  • We've flirted at balls, and she was as coy as a twenty-four year-old!
  • She's coy enough to curdle butter, looking up at him from under her lashes.
arch, simpering, coquettish, flirtatious, kittenish;
demure, shy, modest, bashful, reticent, diffident, self-effacing, shrinking, timid
1.1Reluctant to give details, especially about something regarded as sensitive: he is coy about his age
More example sentences
  • Clifford is coy about this, ‘No, I think I've got my work cut out here quite frankly.’
  • Nor was the administration coy about its reasons.
  • This was no time to be coy about asking for money.
1.2 dated Quiet and reserved; shy.
Example sentences
  • Adrienne was playing coy and quiet, wearing a look of supreme contentment on her face.


Middle English: from Old French coi, quei, from Latin quietus (see quiet). The original sense was 'quiet, still' (especially in behavior), later 'modestly retiring', and hence (of a woman) 'affecting to be unresponsive to advances'.

  • requiem from Middle English:

    This is from Latin requies ‘rest’, the first word of the Mass for the Dead, said or sung for the repose of their souls: Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine ‘Grant them, O Lord, eternal rest’. The Latin word goes back to quietus ‘quiet’, which is the source of quit, requite (early 16th century), and tranquil (early 17th century) and, via the French for quiet, coy (Middle English).

Words that rhyme with coy

ahoy, alloy, Amoy, annoy, boy, buoy, cloy, destroy, employ, enjoy, Hanoi, hoi polloi, hoy, Illinois, joy, koi, oi, ploy, poi, Roy, savoy, soy, tatsoi, toy, trompe l'œil, troy

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: coy

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There are 2 main definitions of coy in English:

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Coy 2

Pronunciation: /kɔɪ/

Entry from British & World English dictionary


chiefly Military

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: Coy

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