[ koi-lee ]


  1. in a hesitant or indirect manner:

    The painting shows an eighteenth-century lady flirting with a coyly blushing young knight.

  2. in a shy or modest manner:

    She read the note and thanked him coyly.

  3. in a way that shows usually insincere or affected reluctance:

    When asked about the movie, she coyly replied, "It's a big secret; I’m not going to tell anybody."

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Other Words From

  • o·ver·coy·ly adverb
  • un·coy·ly adverb

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Word History and Origins

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Example Sentences

Antonio Brown, who was suspended just last summer because of legal charges, has so far drawn negative attention only for a training camp fight that Arians coyly dismissed as “swatting flies.”

In the days after the mid-December test firing, officials from NASA and Boeing were coy about whether they would need to test-fire the rocket a second time.

The series has been coy about whether these adventures fighting gods and monsters were “real” in this universe’s logic.

Rizzo was a bit coy, saying he has not talked to Scherzer about his future while acknowledging discussions could be on the “ownership level.”

On Friday, when we sought confirmation of the endorsement from the Labor Council, they played coy, declining to provide a statement confirming or denying its decision.

Carter coyly characterizes the setting as “a room” and the time period as “yes.”

Somewhat coyly, Skidmore admits that “Richard was to break this solemn vow in spectacular style.”

If he coyly waffles this time around, his support will evaporate quicker than you can say Fred Thompson.

“I wish I could say it was...” another fan teases coyly, fully embracing the never-nude theme by going fully shirtless.

Verveer is headed for a prestigious think-tank spot, but she coyly provided no details.

Well, Mr. Robinson is a—sort of relation of yours; in fact—(playing with her rings and looking down coyly)—he is your—father.

Well, Mr. Robinson is a–sort of relation of yours; in fact–(playing with her rings and looking down coyly)–he is your–father.

Stars were bright, summer scents from the Kent cliffs mingled coyly with vulgar steamer-smells; the summer weather held immutably.

I fear that the one who loves you, and whom you loved ere you came to me, will be angry with me and curse me, she coyly answered.

But the daughter declined to be sold off in such a fashion unless—she coyly admitted—she could have half of the rum herself.