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[bash-fuh l] /ˈbæʃ fəl/
uncomfortably diffident and easily embarrassed; shy; timid.
indicative of, accompanied by, or proceeding from bashfulness.
Origin of bashful
First recorded in 1540-50; (a)bash + -ful
Related forms
bashfully, adverb
bashfulness, noun
overbashful, adjective
overbashfully, adverb
overbashfulness, noun
unbashful, adjective
unbashfully, adverb
unbashfulness, noun
1. abashed, modest. See shy1 .
arrogant. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for bashful
Historical Examples
  • But, I fancy, it is many, many years ago since he was bashful.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • The man to be so bashful; the woman to want so much courting!

    Clarissa, Volume 3 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • "Probably the presence of Stumpy made her bashful," suggested Ned.

    Frank Roscoe's Secret Allen Chapman
  • bashful or bold then, he will know how to make us seniors very unnecessary.

    Essays, First Series Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • "Oh, they are most beautiful," replied she, with a bashful falling of her eyelids.

    Roland Cashel Charles James Lever
  • She hesitated in a funny, bashful manner which roused my interest.

    Chance Joseph Conrad
  • Oh, of course, dearest, you would be too bashful; but I 'm not.

    The Bramleighs Of Bishop's Folly Charles James Lever
  • She hesitated, muffled from head to foot, shadowy and bashful.

    'Twixt Land & Sea Joseph Conrad
  • They are extreme modest and bashful, very shy, and nice of being touchd.

  • The boss thrust the goad into the hand of the bashful fellow.

British Dictionary definitions for bashful


disposed to attempt to avoid notice through shyness or modesty; diffident; timid
indicating or characterized by shyness or modesty
Derived Forms
bashfully, adverb
bashfulness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from bash, short for abash + -ful
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bashful

1540s, from baishen "to be filled with consternation or dismay" (mid-14c.), from Old French baissier "bring down, humiliate" (see abash). Related: Bashfully; bashfulness (1530s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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