suspicious, distrustful, or wary (often used in combination): I am a bit shy of that sort of person.The studio made a huge mistake when they cast a horse-shy actor in the cowboy role.This particular inventor was known to be media-shy.
reluctant: She’s never been shy about asking to speak to the manager when she’s unhappy with customer service.
deficient: shy of funds.
short of a full amount or number; scant: We're still a few dollars shy of our goal.He's pretty tall—just an inch shy of six feet.
(in poker) indebted to the pot.
not bearing or breeding freely, as plants or animals.
(especially of a horse) to start back or aside, as in fear.
to draw back; recoil.
a sudden start aside, as in fear.
Idioms about shy
- shy·er, noun
- shy·ly, adverb
- shy·ness, noun
Other definitions for shy (2 of 2)
to throw with a swift, sudden movement: to shy a stone.
a quick, sudden throw.
a gibe or sneer.
- shyer, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use shy in a sentence
Just shy of a month from election day, with the earliest mail-in ballots beginning to be counted, Florida has done it again.A crashed voter registration website is Floridians’ latest obstacle to the right to vote | Sara Morrison | October 9, 2020 | Vox
Stewart, who matter-of-factly declared that she wanted to win four championships in college, then did so, never shies away from acknowledging her own level of play.The Seattle Storm’s Dynamic Duo Is On The Brink Of Another Title | Howard Megdal | October 6, 2020 | FiveThirtyEight
Symbolically, I rang the bell two days shy of ringing in 2020 — entering a new year having successfully completed treatment.The Anatomy Of A Breast Cancer Survivor: ‘Early Detection Saved My Life’ | Charli Penn | October 6, 2020 | Essence.com
Some allies of Peters have sent warnings to Democratic leaders that if they do not shore up what should be an easy victory, they could fall shy of the majority.Republicans face major head winds in final stretch to maintain Senate majority | Rachael Bade, Paul Kane | October 5, 2020 | Washington Post
He came up two assists shy of a triple-double and, at 9-of-16, was efficient shooting the ball.Jimmy Butler Outplayed LeBron James And Bought Miami Some Breathing Room | Chris Herring (email@example.com) | October 5, 2020 | FiveThirtyEight
His peers remember him as a bright man who spoke softly and occasionally came across as a bit shy.
Sabrine was the outgoing, sociable type, and had many friends, while Ziad was shy and a little more introverted.
When Tonie Tobias started at Delta in 1996 she was shy and closeted.How A Company’s Support of Gay Employees Helped One of Them To Come Out | | December 24, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
A Spaniard by birth, Victor Serna left home shy of his 14th birthday and entered the monastery to become a Marist brother.
Not ones to shy away from a fight, the Sailor Senshi defend their leader to the death.‘Sailor Moon’ Is an Oasis for Superheroes Who Can Save the Universe in Heels | Rich Goldstein | November 26, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Possibly, he would not shy at such monstrosities after twenty miles of a lathering ride.The Red Year | Louis Tracy
He gave me some instructions, but I was too confused to understand them, and too shy to ask questions.Fifty Years of Railway Life in England, Scotland and Ireland | Joseph Tatlow
But Mrs. Charmington was already on the wane, and as he had no wish to be her hero now he rather fought shy of her.The Pit Town Coronet, Volume I (of 3) | Charles James Wills
After this Aristide learned much of her simple history, which she, at first, had been too shy to reveal.The Joyous Adventures of Aristide Pujol | William J. Locke
Rosemary, shy but happy, began giving out the toys, diving with both hands at once into the baskets which the fairy father held.Rosemary in Search of a Father | C. N. Williamson
British Dictionary definitions for shy (1 of 2)
not at ease in the company of others
easily frightened; timid
(often foll by of) watchful or wary
poker (of a player) without enough money to back his bet
(of plants and animals) not breeding or producing offspring freely
(foll by of) informal, mainly US and Canadian short (of)
(in combination) showing reluctance or disinclination: workshy
to move suddenly, as from fear: the horse shied at the snake in the road
(usually foll by off or away) to draw back; recoil
a sudden movement, as from fear
- shyly, adverb
- shyness, noun
British Dictionary definitions for shy (2 of 2)
to throw (something) with a sideways motion
a quick throw
informal a gibe
informal an attempt; experiment
short for cockshy
- shyer, noun
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
Other Idioms and Phrases with shy
In addition to the idiom beginning with shy
- shy away from
- 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.