- bashful; retiring.
- easily frightened away; timid.
- suspicious; distrustful: I am a bit shy of that sort of person.
- reluctant; wary.
- 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.
- (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 shy1
SynonymsSee more synonyms for shy on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for shyest
He was the shyest, most frightened six-footer in the memory of Aiken.IT and Other Stories
The shyest and most modest of the birds pines for appreciation.Wild Life Near Home
Dallas Lore Sharp
I hope that you are hard at work—not neglecting the shyest and dearest of the muses—?William Sharp (Fiona Macleod)
Elizabeth A. Sharp
And first, as to perhaps the shyest, the Rocky Mountain sheep.American Big-Game Hunting
Sitting by her side, and talking to her, the shyest were at their ease.Elizabeth Gilbert and Her Work for the Blind
- 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 disinclinationworkshy
- to move suddenly, as from fearthe horse shied at the snake in the road
- (usually foll by off or away) to draw back; recoil
- a sudden movement, as from fear
- to throw (something) with a sideways motion
- a quick throw
- informal a gibe
- informal an attempt; experiment
- short for cockshy
Word Origin and History for shyest
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.