[ 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.


Discover The Influence Of Portuguese On English Via This Quiz!
We’ve gathered some interesting words donated to English from Portuguese … as well as some that just don’t translate at all. Do you know what they mean?
Question 1 of 11
Which of the following bird names traces its immediate origin to Portuguese?

Idioms for shy

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

Origin of shy

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


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.



shy·er, nounshy·ly, adverbshy·ness, noun

Definition for shyer (2 of 2)


or shy·er

[ shahy-er ]
/ ˈʃaɪ ər /


a horse having a tendency to shy.

Origin of shier

First recorded in 1820–30; shy1 + -er1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for shyer

British Dictionary definitions for shyer (1 of 4)

/ (ˈʃaɪə) /


a comparative of shy 1

British Dictionary definitions for shyer (2 of 4)



/ (ˈʃaɪə) /


a horse that shies habitually

British Dictionary definitions for shyer (3 of 4)

/ (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 of shy

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 shyer (4 of 4)

/ (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 of shy

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 shyer


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