There are 2 definitions of shy in English:


Syllabification: shy
Pronunciation: /SHī

adjective (shyer, shyest)

1Being reserved or having or showing nervousness or timidity in the company of other people: I was pretty shy at school a shy smile
More example sentences
  • Jayalalitha, a once shy, timid, tiny introvert, was so outstanding in her studies that her portrait hangs in her school as a star alumnus with academic excellence as her only passion.
  • His smile is shy, almost gentle, and his eyes dart nervously around him.
  • I've gone from being shy and timid, to being quietly confident and assured.
1.1 [predic.] (shy about) Slow or reluctant to do (something): she has never been shy about discussing her efforts to raise aesthetic standards
More example sentences
  • I wanted to take things slow, and was shy about being intimate.
  • She has never been shy of expressing her feminist opinions.
1.2 [in combination] Having a dislike of or aversion to a specified thing: they were a little camera-shy
1.3(Of a wild mammal or bird) reluctant to remain in sight of humans.
More example sentences
  • The Department of Conservation has been on the hunt for our national icon in the Western Bay since November - but so far the shy birds have remained out of reach.
  • The shy birds were reluctant to cache when observed and often made fake deposits.
  • Build a brush pile near your feeder to make sparrows, towhees, and other shy birds feel more at home, but be sure it won't harbor roaming cats.
2 [predic.] (shy of) informal Less than; short of: he won the championship with a score three points shy of a world record
More example sentences
  • I had studied and put too much effort into this test to have achieved 150 points shy of a perfect score.
  • The company's shares trade just shy of the level that analysts say the printer business is worth all on its own.
  • It was he's 24th goal of the season, just one short of his all-time best and two shy of his record achieved many years ago at the other club.
2.1Before: he left school just shy of his fourteenth birthday
More example sentences
  • Days shy of the event's 15th anniversary, he was detained by authorities.
  • Just shy of its 180th birthday, the oldest political party in the country voted itself out of existence in early December.
  • He was just shy of his 60th birthday and certainly had much more to do in his life.
3(Of a plant) not bearing flowers or fruit well or prolifically.
More example sentences
  • A new work by Alan Bennett is like a shy plant that only flowers every now and then, but when it does gives enormous pleasure.
  • Cyclamen Cyclamen are subtler and more elegant than poinsettia with delicate, silky, shy flowers and the dappled heart-shaped leaves.

verb (shies, shying, shied)

[no object] Back to top  
1(Especially of a horse) start suddenly aside in fright at an object, noise, or movement.
More example sentences
  • His horse shied to the right, making room on the path for the newcomer.
  • Hoss jumped, and the horse shied, the twin jolts coming together in the agony of his jawbone.
  • But the white horse shied away from her, his wild eyes showing their whites, ears laid back in fear.
1.1 (shy from) Avoid doing or becoming involved in (something) due to nervousness or a lack of confidence: don’t shy away from saying what you think
More example sentences
  • They avoided fighting whenever possible, yet did not shy from combat if it closed in.
  • We are not shying from the responsibility but to put a three-year-old on the operating table when he's smiley and happy is not an option.
  • To its credit, the picture doesn't shy from depicting the horrific reality of execution by electric chair, although it stops short of coming down firmly in an anti-death penalty stance.
flinch at, demur at, recoil at, hang back from, have scruples about, have misgivings about, have qualms about, be chary of, be diffident toward, be bashful about, fight shy of, balk at


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A sudden startled movement, especially of a frightened horse.


Old English scēoh '(of a horse) easily frightened', of Germanic origin; related to German scheuen 'shun', scheuchen 'scare'; compare with eschew. The verb dates from the mid 17th century.



Pronunciation: /ˈSHī(ə)r/
More example sentences
  • She didn't really fit in, she stood out from the rest, far more beautiful and a lot shyer.
  • Calvin seemed a bit shyer now and he wasn't smiling quite so much.
  • With room-mates, the shyer of the two tended to change more emotionally.


More example sentences
  • She smiled shyly, looking down at her bare feet in the cold mud.
  • Pens and paper at the ready the kids shyly approached Micko, cautiously asking for his autograph.
  • Standing shyly in worn jeans with a canvas bag, Yang looked like a student.

Definition of shy in:

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Word of the day envenom
Pronunciation: ɪnˈvɛnəm
put poison on or into; make poisonous

There are 2 definitions of shy in English:


Syllabification: shy
Pronunciation: /

verb (shies, shying, shied)

[with object]
Fling or throw (something) at a target: he tore the glasses off and shied them at her

noun (plural shies)

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An act of flinging or throwing something at a target.
More example sentences
  • Non-striker Gordon Webster, running to the danger end, would have been well short of safety had the shy at the stumps been on target.
  • First class casters could reach way out to shy fish, and distant mangroves.


late 18th century: of unknown origin.


have a shy at

Try to hit something, especially with a ball or stone.
More example sentences
  • So good was their dominance that they did not allow the Chandigarh team to have a shy at the goal at all.
  • Pietersen has a shy at the stumps, but misses with the Australian just about making his ground.
  • If they miss, the man backing up collects and has a shy at the next stump along the line.
archaic Attempt to do or obtain something.
More example sentences
  • Though he is well behind the leaders, another Finn who could have a shy at a medal at least will be hammer thrower Olli-Pekka Karjalainen.
archaic Jeer at: you are always having a shy at Lady Ann and her relations
More example sentences
  • ‘There you go, Polly; you are always having a shy at Lady Anne and her relations,’ says Mr. Newcome, good-naturedly.

Definition of shy in: