- 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 on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for shyly
We start slowly, shyly, and awkwardly just like most teenagers discovering the birds and the bees.How 10 Porn Stars Lost Their Virginity
May 7, 2013
Another student, in a blue sweater-vest, shyly waited his turn.Donkeygate! Bush Officials Banned the Democrat Mascot
July 6, 2010
She would not answer; but shyly, in sweet self-consciousness, looked down.The Cruise of the Shining Light
She was silent for a moment and then she looked up at him shyly.The Vagrant Duke
"I have a right to them," she said, looking up at him slyly and shyly.David Elginbrod
Shyly, and still without meeting his gaze, she holds out her hand.Molly Bawn
Margaret Wolfe Hamilton
"I am pleased to see you back," said he shyly, as he released her.Gilian The Dreamer
- 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 shyly
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.
Idioms and Phrases with shyly
In addition to the idiom beginning with shy
- shy away from
- bricks shy of a load
- fight shy of
- once bitten, twice shy