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shy 1

adj. shi·er (shī′ər), shi·est (shī′ĭst) or shy·er or shy·est
1. Easily startled; timid: a shy deer.
a. Tending to avoid contact or familiarity with others; retiring or reserved: a shy student who stayed in the back of the room.
b. Characterized by reserve or diffidence: a shy glance.
3. Distrustful; wary: shy of strangers.
4. Not having a sufficient or specified amount, as of money: was shy $100 on his rent; was two victories shy of the school record.
intr.v. shied (shīd), shy·ing, shies (shīz)
1. To move suddenly or draw back, as if startled or afraid: The horse shied at the loud sound.
2. To avoid engaging in, treating, or discussing something: "a film adaptation that would not shy away from the novel's controversial themes" (Scot French).
n. pl. shies (shīz)
A sudden movement, as from fright; a start.

[Middle English schey, from Old English scēoh.]

shy′er n.
shy′ly adv.
shy′ness n.

shy 2

v. shied (shīd), shy·ing, shies (shīz)
To throw (something) with a swift motion; fling.
To throw something with a swift motion.
n. pl. shies (shīz)
1. A quick throw; a fling.
2. Informal A gibe; a sneer.
3. Informal An attempt; a try.

[Perhaps from shy.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.




  1. Bashful as an egg at Easter —Sir John Denham

    This has expanded with the seasons to include “Bashful as a turkey at Thanksgiving or Christmas.”

  2. Demure as an African violet —Maya Angelou
  3. Demure as an old whore at a christening —Thomas Fuller
  4. Demure as if butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth —Thomas Fuller
  5. Shy as a squirrel —George Meredith
  6. Shy as infants —Alice McDermott
  7. Shy as rabbits —Anon
  8. Shy, like a hospitable country hostess anxious to give pleasure, but afraid that she has not much to offer citizens of a larger world —Phyllis Bottome
  9. A shy man men is as a lonely man … between him and his fellowmen there runs an impossible barrier … a strong invisible wall —Jerome K. Jerome
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.shyness - a feeling of fear of embarrassmentshyness - a feeling of fear of embarrassment  
timidity, timidness, timorousness - fear of the unknown or unfamiliar or fear of making decisions
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


noun timidity, self-consciousness, bashfulness, modesty, nervousness, lack of confidence, reticence, diffidence, timorousness, mousiness, timidness Eventually he overcame his shyness.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


An awkwardness or lack of self-confidence in the presence of others:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


[ˈʃaɪnɪs] N [of person, smile] → timidez f; [of animal] → lo asustadizo
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˈʃaɪnɪs] ntimidité f
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


nSchüchternheit f; (esp of animals) → Scheu f; his shyness at meeting peopleseine Schüchternheit, wenn er andere Leute kennenlernt; her shyness of strangersihre Scheu vor Fremden
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈʃaɪnɪs] ntimidezza
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(ʃai) comparative ˈshyer or ˈshier: superlative ˈshyest or ˈshiest adjective
1. lacking confidence in the presence of others, especially strangers; not wanting to attract attention. She is too shy to go to parties.
2. drawing back from (an action, person etc). She is shy of strangers.
3. (of a wild animal) easily frightened; timid. Deer are very shy animals.
(of a horse) to jump or turn suddenly aside in fear. The horse shied at the strangers.
ˈshyly adverb
ˈshyness noun
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


n timidez f, retraimiento
English-Spanish/Spanish-English Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
The iron mask of shyness is riveted before his face, and the man beneath is never seen.
But neither could it be said that he looked young; he had never at any time looked young with common youth; there had always been something in his appearance that stamped him as different from the ordinary run of men, and, apart from his shyness, built up an intangible, invisible barrier between him and his kind.
If he overcame his shyness, caution applied the foot-brake.
"Well, let's go into my room," said Stepan Arkadyevitch, who knew his friend's sensitive and irritable shyness, and, taking his arm, he drew him along, as though guiding him through dangers.
A familiarity with Alec d'Urberville's presence--which that young man carefully cultivated in her by playful dialogue, and by jestingly calling her his cousin when they were alone--removed much of her original shyness of him, without, however, implanting any feeling which could engender shyness of a new and tenderer kind.
She smiled to cover her shyness, and I fancied she had a fear that I would make the sort of gibe that such a confession could hardly have failed to elicit from Rose Waterford.
Beneath his painful shyness something was growing up within him, and obscurely he realised his personality.
And such was Natasha, with her surprise, her delight, her shyness, and even her mistakes in speaking French.
On the stairs were a troop of little boys and girls, whose eagerness for their cousin's appearance would not allow them to wait in the drawing-room, and whose shyness, as they had not seen her for a twelvemonth, prevented their coming lower.
The Prince had recovered from his shyness and had become very fond of the girl who had rescued him, so they were fast friends and chatted pleasantly together as they rode along.
While Laurie listlessly watched the procession of priests under their canopies, white-veiled nuns bearing lighted tapers, and some brotherhood in blue chanting as they walked, Amy watched him, and felt a new sort of shyness steal over her, for he was changed, and she could not find the merry-faced boy she left in the moody-looking man beside her.
But they were too much used to company and praise to have anything like natural shyness; and their confidence increasing from their cousin's total want of it, they were soon able to take a full survey of her face and her frock in easy indifference.