There are 2 main definitions of coy in English:


Syllabification: coy

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.
More 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'.



More example sentences
  • He would smile coyly, his face lit with emotion.
  • That is very kind and I'm not being coyly modest when I say that I'm not worthy.
  • She coyly said this album was dedicated to her husband, Clemens.

Definition of coy in:

There are 2 main definitions of coy in English:


Line breaks: Coy

Entry from British & World English dictionary


chiefly Military

Definition of coy in: