suspicious; distrustful: I am a bit shy of that sort of person.
deficient: shy of funds.
scant; short of a full amount or number: still a few dollars shy of our goal; an inch shy of being six feet.
(in poker) indebted to the pot.
not bearing or breeding freely, as plants or animals.
verb (used without object),shied,shy·ing.
(especially of a horse) to start back or aside, as in fear.
to draw back; recoil.
a sudden start aside, as in fear.
fight shy of, to keep away from; avoid: She fought shy of making the final decision.
Origin of shy
before 1000;late Middle Englishschey (adj.), early Middle Englishscheowe,Old Englishscēoh; cognate with Middle High Germanschiech; akin to Dutchschuw,Germanscheu; cf. eschew
Related formsshy·er, nounshy·ly, adverbshy·ness, noun
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.
late Old English sceoh "timid, easily startled," from Proto-Germanic *skeukh(w)az "afraid" (cf. Middle Low German schüwe, Dutch schuw, German scheu "shy;" Old High German sciuhen, German scheuchen "to scare away"). Uncertain cognates outside Germanic, unless in Old Church Slavonic shchuti "to hunt, incite." Italian schivare "to avoid," Old French eschiver "to shun" are Germanic loan-words. Meaning "lacking, short of" is from 1895, American English gambling slang. Related: Shyly; shyness.
"to throw (a missile) with a jerk or toss," 1787, colloquial, of unknown origin and uncertain connection to shy (adj.). Related: Shied; shying.
"to recoil," 1640s, from shy (adj.). Related: Shied; shying.