Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

coy

[koi]
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.
Show More
verb (used without object)
  1. Archaic. to act in a coy manner.
Show More
verb (used with object) Obsolete.
  1. to quiet; soothe.
  2. to pat; caress.
Show More

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 for coy

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for coyly

Contemporary Examples of coyly

Historical Examples of coyly

  • He tried to sniff noses with her, but she retreated playfully and coyly.

    White Fang

    Jack London

  • "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

    Sinclair Lewis

  • And he bowed to Suzanne, who stood beside him coyly, looking down.

    The Crossing

    Winston Churchill


British Dictionary definitions for coyly

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
Show More
Derived Formscoyish, adjectivecoyly, adverbcoyness, noun

Word Origin for coy

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 coyly

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.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper