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coy

[koi]
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adjective, coy·er, coy·est.
  1. artfully or affectedly shy or reserved; slyly hesitant; coquettish.
  2. shy; modest.
  3. showing reluctance, especially when insincere or affected, to reveal one's plans or opinions, make a commitment, or take a stand: The mayor was coy about his future political aspirations.
  4. Archaic. disdainful; aloof.
  5. Obsolete. quiet; reserved.
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verb (used without object)
  1. Archaic. to act in a coy manner.
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verb (used with object) Obsolete.
  1. to quiet; soothe.
  2. to pat; caress.
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Origin of coy

1300–50; Middle English < Anglo-French coi, quoy calm, Old French quei < Vulgar Latin *quētus, for Latin quiētus quiet1
Related formscoy·ish, adjectivecoy·ish·ness, nouncoy·ly, adverbcoy·ness, nouno·ver·coy, adjectiveo·ver·coy·ly, adverbo·ver·coy·ness, nounun·coy, adjectiveun·coy·ly, adverbun·coy·ness, noun

Synonyms

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2. retiring, diffident, bashful, demure.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for coyish

coy

adjective
  1. (usually of a woman) affectedly demure, esp in a playful or provocative manner
  2. shy; modest
  3. evasive, esp in an annoying way
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Derived Formscoyish, adjectivecoyly, adverbcoyness, noun

Word Origin

C14: from Old French coi reserved, from Latin quiētus quiet
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 coyish

coy

adj.

early 14c., "quiet, modest, demure," from Old French coi, earlier quei "quiet, still, placid, gentle," ultimately from Latin quietus "resting, at rest" (see quiet (n.)). Meaning "shy" emerged late 14c. Meaning "unwilling to commit" is 1961. Related: Coyly; coyness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper