- 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.
- Archaic. to act in a coy manner.
- to quiet; soothe.
- to pat; caress.
Origin of coy
SynonymsSee more synonyms for coy on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for coyness
For his coyness we were partly consoled by the gambols of the river-horses.Impressions of South Africa
On his side there is no backwardness now; on hers no coyness, no mock modesty.The Death Shot
It was impossible for him to forget her gentle look or the coyness of her hands.The Goose Man
She looked up at me appealingly, though with no trace of coyness.The Deep Lake Mystery
I say, were I her equal, I could find in this shyness coyness, and in that coyness love.Shirley
- (usually of a woman) affectedly demure, esp in a playful or provocative manner
- shy; modest
- evasive, esp in an annoying way
Word Origin and History for coyness
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.