- artfully or affectedly shy or reserved; slyly hesitant; coquettish.
- shy; modest.
- 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.
- Archaic. disdainful; aloof.
- Obsolete. quiet; reserved.
- Archaic. to act in a coy manner.
- to quiet; soothe.
- to pat; caress.
Origin of coy
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for coyly
Carter coyly characterizes the setting as “a room” and the time period as “yes.”The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson (And Tolstoy and Dickens)
October 26, 2014
If he coyly waffles this time around, his support will evaporate quicker than you can say Fred Thompson.Reanimated and Ready: The Unstoppable Huckenstein
January 31, 2014
Verveer is headed for a prestigious think-tank spot, but she coyly provided no details.John Kerry vs. Bob Woodward
January 20, 2013
Coyly, Rosenfeld chooses does not to identify whom he believes were the true subversives.The FBI’s Harassment and Spying on 1960s Students Revealed in 'Subversives' by Seth Rosenfeld
August 23, 2012
But when I asked Haneke if he agrees with this argument, he coyly replied, “If you like.”Michael Haneke Film ‘Amour’ Explores Euthanasia and the Purity of Love
May 23, 2012
He tried to sniff noses with her, but she retreated playfully and coyly.White Fang
"Too coyly for him to credit her with overmuch tenderness," suggested the bridegroom.Standish of Standish
Jane G. Austin
The girl held a tight grip on the leash and looked at him coyly.The Monster
S. M. Tenneshaw
He had neither gossiped nor coyly squeezed her hand as he had guided her.Free Air
And he bowed to Suzanne, who stood beside him coyly, looking down.The Crossing
- (usually of a woman) affectedly demure, esp in a playful or provocative manner
- shy; modest
- evasive, esp in an annoying way
Word Origin and History for coyly
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.