adjective (shyer, shyest)
- 1Nervous or timid in the company of other people: I was pretty shy at school a shy smileMore example sentences
bashful, diffident, timid, sheepish, reserved, reticent, introverted, retiring, self-effacing, shrinking, withdrawn, timorous, mousy, fearful, apprehensive, nervous, hesitant, reluctant, doubting, insecure, wary, suspicious, chary, unconfident, inhibited, constrained,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
- 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 (shy of/about) Slow or reluctant to do (something): the wealthy have become less shy of displaying their privilegeMore example sentences
- I wanted to take things slow, and was shy about being intimate.
- She has never been shy of expressing her feminist opinions.
- 1.3(Of a wild mammal or bird) reluctant to remain in sight of humans: otters are very shy animalsMore 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 (shy of) • informal Less than; short of: the shares are 29p shy of their flotation priceMore 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 birthdayMore 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: their horses shied at the unfamiliar sightMore 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 thinkMore example sentences
flinch, 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 something• informal be cagey about, boggle at• archaic disrelish
- 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.
nounBack to top
- 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.
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.
verb (shies, shying, shied)[with object]
noun (plural shies)Back to top
- 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.
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: have a shy at putting the case to meMore 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 relationsMore example sentences
- ‘There you go, Polly; you are always having a shy at Lady Anne and her relations,’ says Mr. Newcome, good-naturedly.
late 18th century: of unknown origin.