shy

1
[ shahy ]
/ ʃaɪ /
||

adjective, shy·er or shi·er, shy·est or shi·est.

verb (used without object), shied, shy·ing.

(especially of a horse) to start back or aside, as in fear.
to draw back; recoil.

noun, plural shies.

a sudden start aside, as in fear.

Idioms

    fight shy of, to keep away from; avoid: She fought shy of making the final decision.

Origin of shy

1
before 1000; late Middle English schey (adj.), early Middle English scheowe, Old English scēoh; cognate with Middle High German schiech; akin to Dutch schuw, German scheu; cf. eschew

SYNONYMS FOR shy

1 Shy, bashful, diffident imply a manner that shows discomfort or lack of confidence in association with others. Shy implies a constitutional shrinking from contact or close association with others, together with a wish to escape notice: shy and retiring. Bashful suggests timidity about meeting others, and trepidation and awkward behavior when brought into prominence or notice: a bashful child. Diffident emphasizes self-distrust, fear of censure, failure, etc., and a hesitant, tentative manner as a consequence: a diffident approach to a touchy subject.
4 heedful, cautious, chary.
10 shrink.

ANTONYMS FOR shy

Related forms

shy·er, nounshy·ly, adverbshy·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for fight shy of (1 of 2)

shy

1
/ (ʃaɪ) /

adjective shyer, shyest, shier or shiest


verb shies, shying or shied (intr)

to move suddenly, as from fearthe horse shied at the snake in the road
(usually foll by off or away) to draw back; recoil

noun plural shies

a sudden movement, as from fear

Derived Forms

shyly, adverbshyness, noun

Word Origin for shy

Old English sceoh; related to Old High German sciuhen to frighten away, Dutch schuw shy, Swedish skygg

British Dictionary definitions for fight shy of (2 of 2)

shy

2
/ (ʃaɪ) /

verb shies, shying or shied

to throw (something) with a sideways motion

noun plural shies

a quick throw
informal a gibe
informal an attempt; experiment
short for cockshy

Derived Forms

shyer, noun

Word Origin for shy

C18: of Germanic origin; compare Old High German sciuhen to make timid, Middle Dutch schüchteren to chase away
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

Idioms and Phrases with fight shy of (1 of 2)

fight shy of

Avoid meeting or confronting someone, as in “I have ... had to fight shy of invitations that would exhaust time and spirits” (Washington Irving, Life and Letters, 1821). This usage may allude to a military reluctance to meet or engage with the enemy. [Late 1700s]


Idioms and Phrases with fight shy of (2 of 2)

shy

In addition to the idiom beginning with shy

  • shy away from

also see:

  • bricks shy of a load
  • fight shy of
  • once bitten, twice shy

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.