as a teenager I was painfully shy
bashful, diffident, timid, sheepish, reserved, reticent, introverted, retiring, self-effacing, shrinking, withdrawn, timorous, mousy, fearful, apprehensive, nervous, hesitant, reluctant, doubting, insecure, wary, suspicious, chary, unconfident, inhibited, constrained, repressed, self-conscious, embarrassed, coy, demure, abashed, modest, humble, meek
[Antonyms] bold, brash, confident
verbBack to top
- shy away from
- don't shy away from saying what you thinkflinch, demur, recoil, hang back;have scruples about, scruple about, have misgivings about, have qualms about, be averse to, be chary of, not be in favour of, be against, be opposed to, be diffident about, be bashful about, be shy about, fight shy of, be coy about;be loath to, scruple to, be reluctant to, be unwilling to, be disinclined to, not be in the mood to, be indisposed to, be sorry to, be slow to, be hesitant to, be ashamed to, be afraid to, hesitate to, hate to, not like to, not have the heart to, drag one's feet/heels over, waver about, vacillate about, think twice about, baulk at, quail at, mind doing somethinginformal be cagey about, boggle atarchaic disrelish
Choose the right word
shy, bashful, diffident, timid
A shy person lacks confidence and is uncertain how to behave or what to say in the presence of other people ( the British are supposed to be a staid, shy, retiring lot | I was inordinately shy of girls). Shy is also used of people who try to avoid someone or something about which they feel uneasy ( people can be very shy about giving compliments | small investors remained shy of the stock market).Bashful denotes a nervous reluctance to draw attention to oneself ( many men are bashful about discussing their feelings out in the open). The word can have a faintly old-fashioned or humorous tinge to it.Diffident describes someone who is so modest or hesitant that they have difficulty in putting themselves forward ( ‘Aren't you Sergei Rozanov?’ she enquired in a soft, diffident voice | he was very diffident about working with classical actors).Timid means ‘lacking normal confidence or courage’. It stems from fear, resulting in excessive nervousness in the presence of others ( I was too timid to ask for what I wanted | she gave him a timid smile). It can also imply an unwillingness to take risks; thus a timid action is often inadequate, half-hearted, or piecemeal ( the history of the UN's peacekeeping operations shows what can go wrong when timid measures are tried).
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