[ shahy ]
/ ʃaɪ /
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See synonyms for: shy / shied / shies / shying on Thesaurus.com

adjective, shy·er or shi·er [shahy-er], /ˈʃaɪ ər/, shy·est or shi·est [shahy-ist]. /ˈʃaɪ ɪst/.

verb (used without object), shied [shahyd], /ʃaɪd/, 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.



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Idioms for shy

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

Origin of shy

First recorded before 1000; Middle English (adjective) schei, sheu, sheouh “easily startled,” Old English scēoh “timid, fearful, shy”; cognate with Middle High German schiech; akin to Dutch schuw, German scheu; cf. eschew
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.
shy·er, nounshy·ly, adverbshy·ness, noun

Definition for shy (2 of 2)

[ shahy ]
/ ʃaɪ /

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

to throw with a swift, sudden movement: to shy a stone.

noun, plural shies.

a quick, sudden throw.
  1. a gibe or sneer.
  2. a try.

Origin of shy

First recorded in 1780–90; origin uncertain
shyer, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for shy (1 of 2)

/ (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
shyly, adverbshyness, noun
Old English sceoh; related to Old High German sciuhen to frighten away, Dutch schuw shy, Swedish skygg

British Dictionary definitions for shy (2 of 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
shyer, noun
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 shy


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