• synonyms


[bash-fuh l]
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  1. uncomfortably diffident and easily embarrassed; shy; timid.
  2. indicative of, accompanied by, or proceeding from bashfulness.
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Origin of bashful

First recorded in 1540–50; (a)bash + -ful
Related formsbash·ful·ly, adverbbash·ful·ness, nouno·ver·bash·ful, adjectiveo·ver·bash·ful·ly, adverbo·ver·bash·ful·ness, nounun·bash·ful, adjectiveun·bash·ful·ly, adverbun·bash·ful·ness, noun


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1. abashed, modest. See shy1.


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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.

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for bashful


  1. disposed to attempt to avoid notice through shyness or modesty; diffident; timid
  2. indicating or characterized by shyness or modesty
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Derived Formsbashfully, adverbbashfulness, 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

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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper