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See more synonyms for bashful on Thesaurus.com
  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


See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
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