Synonyms Word Origin adjective, coy·er, coy·est. 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. verb (used without object) . Archaic to act in a coy manner. verb (used with object) . Obsolete to quiet; soothe. to pat; caress. Origin of coy 1300–50; Middle English
Anglo-French coi, quoy
Old French quei
Vulgar Latin *quētus,
Latin quiētus quiet 1 Related forms coy·ish, adjective coy·ish·ness, noun coy·ly, adverb coy·ness, noun o·ver·coy, adjective o·ver·coy·ly, adverb o·ver·coy·ness, noun un·coy, adjective un·coy·ly, adverb un·coy·ness, noun
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for coyish (usually of a woman) affectedly demure, esp in a playful or provocative manner shy; modest evasive, esp in an annoying way Derived Forms coyish, adjective coyly, adverb coyness, noun Word Origin
C14: from Old French
coi reserved, from Latin quiētus quiet
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
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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.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper