Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

shy1

[shahy]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
adjective, shy·er or shi·er, shy·est or shi·est.
  1. bashful; retiring.
  2. easily frightened away; timid.
  3. suspicious; distrustful: I am a bit shy of that sort of person.
  4. reluctant; wary.
  5. deficient: shy of funds.
  6. scant; short of a full amount or number: still a few dollars shy of our goal; an inch shy of being six feet.
  7. (in poker) indebted to the pot.
  8. not bearing or breeding freely, as plants or animals.
verb (used without object), shied, shy·ing.
  1. (especially of a horse) to start back or aside, as in fear.
  2. to draw back; recoil.
noun, plural shies.
  1. a sudden start aside, as in fear.
Idioms
  1. fight shy of, to keep away from; avoid: She fought shy of making the final decision.

Origin of shy1

before 1000; late Middle English schey (adj.), early Middle English scheowe, Old English scēoh; cognate with Middle High German schiech; akin to Dutch schuw, German scheu; cf. eschew
Related formsshy·er, nounshy·ly, adverbshy·ness, noun

Synonyms

See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1. Shy, bashful, diffident imply a manner that shows discomfort or lack of confidence in association with others. Shy implies a constitutional shrinking from contact or close association with others, together with a wish to escape notice: shy and retiring. Bashful suggests timidity about meeting others, and trepidation and awkward behavior when brought into prominence or notice: a bashful child. Diffident emphasizes self-distrust, fear of censure, failure, etc., and a hesitant, tentative manner as a consequence: a diffident approach to a touchy subject. 4. heedful, cautious, chary. 10. shrink.

Antonyms

1. forward. 2. trusting. 4. careless. 10. advance.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for fight shy of

shy1

adjective shyer, shyest, shier or shiest
  1. not at ease in the company of others
  2. easily frightened; timid
  3. (often foll by of) watchful or wary
  4. poker (of a player) without enough money to back his bet
  5. (of plants and animals) not breeding or producing offspring freely
  6. (foll by of) informal, mainly US and Canadian short (of)
  7. (in combination) showing reluctance or disinclinationworkshy
verb shies, shying or shied (intr)
  1. to move suddenly, as from fearthe horse shied at the snake in the road
  2. (usually foll by off or away) to draw back; recoil
noun plural shies
  1. a sudden movement, as from fear
Derived Formsshyly, adverbshyness, noun

Word Origin

Old English sceoh; related to Old High German sciuhen to frighten away, Dutch schuw shy, Swedish skygg

shy2

verb shies, shying or shied
  1. to throw (something) with a sideways motion
noun plural shies
  1. a quick throw
  2. informal a gibe
  3. informal an attempt; experiment
  4. short for cockshy
Derived Formsshyer, noun

Word Origin

C18: of Germanic origin; compare Old High German sciuhen to make timid, Middle Dutch schüchteren to chase away
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 fight shy of

shy

adj.

late Old English sceoh "timid, easily startled," from Proto-Germanic *skeukh(w)az "afraid" (cf. Middle Low German schüwe, Dutch schuw, German scheu "shy;" Old High German sciuhen, German scheuchen "to scare away"). Uncertain cognates outside Germanic, unless in Old Church Slavonic shchuti "to hunt, incite." Italian schivare "to avoid," Old French eschiver "to shun" are Germanic loan-words. Meaning "lacking, short of" is from 1895, American English gambling slang. Related: Shyly; shyness.

shy

v.1

"to throw (a missile) with a jerk or toss," 1787, colloquial, of unknown origin and uncertain connection to shy (adj.). Related: Shied; shying.

shy

v.2

"to recoil," 1640s, from shy (adj.). Related: Shied; shying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with fight shy of

fight shy of

Avoid meeting or confronting someone, as in “I have ... had to fight shy of invitations that would exhaust time and spirits” (Washington Irving, Life and Letters, 1821). This usage may allude to a military reluctance to meet or engage with the enemy. [Late 1700s]

shy

In addition to the idiom beginning with shy

also see:

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.