What does shy mean?

Definitions for shy

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word shy.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. shyadjective

    a quick throw

    "he gave the ball a shy to the first baseman"

  2. diffident, shy, timid, unsureadjective

    lacking self-confidence

    "stood in the doorway diffident and abashed"; "problems that call for bold not timid responses"; "a very unsure young man"

  3. shy(p)adjective


    "eleven is one shy of a dozen"

  4. shyverb

    wary and distrustful; disposed to avoid persons or things

    "shy of strangers"

  5. shyverb

    start suddenly, as from fright

  6. shyverb

    throw quickly


  1. shynoun

    act of throwing

  2. shynoun

    place for throwing

    coconut shy

  3. shyverb

    To avoid due to timidness or caution.

    I shy away from investment opportunities I don't understand.

  4. shyverb

    To jump back in fear.

    The horse shied away from the rider, which startled him so much he shied away from the horse.

  5. shyverb

    to throw a ball or other missile at a target

  6. shyadjective

    Easily frightened; timid.

    a shy bird.

  7. shyadjective

    Reserved; disinclined to familiar approach.

    He is very shy with strangers.

  8. shyadjective

    Cautious; wary; suspicious.

  9. shyadjective

    Short, insufficient or less than.

  10. shyadjective


  11. Etymology: From shy, from sceoh, from skiuhwaz. Cognate with schuw, scheu, sky.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. SHYadjective

    Etymology: schowe, Dutch; schifo, Italian.

    She is represented in such a shy retiring posture, and covers her bosom with one of her hands. Joseph Addison, Guardian.

    What makes you so shy, my good friend? There’s no body loves you better than I. John Arbuthnot, Hist. of John Bull.

    I am very shy of employing corrosive liquors in the preparation of medicines. Boyle.

    We are not shy of assent to celestial informations, because they were hid from ages. Joseph Glanvill, Sceps.

    We grant, although he had much wit,
    H’ was very shy of using it,
    As being loth to wear it out,
    And therefore bore it not about. Hudibras.

    A shy fellow was the duke; and, I believe, I know the cause of his withdrawing. William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure.

    The bruise imposthumated, and afterwards turned to a stinking ulcer, which made every body shy to come near her. John Arbuthnot, History of John Bull.

    The horses of the army, having been daily led before me, were no longer shy, but would come up to my very feet, without starting. Gulliver’s Travels.

    But when we come to seize th’ inviting prey,
    Like a shy ghost, it vanishes away. John Norris.

    Princes are, by wisdom of state, somewhat shy of their successors; and there may be supposed in queens regnant a little proportion of tenderness that way more than in kings. Henry Wotton.

    I know you shy to be oblig’d,
    And still more loth to be oblig’d by me. Thomas Southerne.


  1. Shy

    Shy is an adjective describing a person with shyness. Shyness as a characteristic of infant children is covered at stranger anxiety.


  1. shy

    Shy refers to a characteristic or behavior in individuals who feel uncomfortable, nervous, or timid around other people, typically due to lack of confidence or fear of judgement. Such individuals often prefer solitary activities and typically avoid social gatherings or interactions.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Shy

    easily frightened; timid; as, a shy bird

  2. Shy

    reserved; coy; disinclined to familiar approach

  3. Shy

    cautious; wary; suspicious

  4. Shyadjective

    to start suddenly aside through fright or suspicion; -- said especially of horses

  5. Shyverb

    to throw sidewise with a jerk; to fling; as, to shy a stone; to shy a slipper

  6. Shynoun

    a sudden start aside, as by a horse

  7. Shynoun

    a side throw; a throw; a fling

  8. Etymology: [OE. schey, skey, sceouh, AS. sceh; akin to Dan. sky, Sw. skygg, D. schuw, MHG. schiech, G. scheu, OHG. sciuhen to be or make timid. Cf. Eschew.]


  1. Shy

    Shy are a British metal band formed in 1980 under the name "Trojan", hailing from Birmingham, England.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Shy

    shī, adj. timid: reserved: cautious: suspicious: elusive, hard to find.—v.i. to start aside, as a horse from fear.—v.t. to avoid:—pa.t. and pa.p. shīed.—n. a sudden swerving aside.—advs. Shy′ly, Shi′ly.—ns. Shy′ness, Shī′ness (obs.); Shy′ster, a tricky lawyer.—Fight shy of (see Fight); Look shy at, or on, to regard with distrust. [A.S. sceóh; Ger. scheu, Dan. sky.]

  2. Shy

    shī, v.t. to fling, throw, toss.—v.i. to jerk.—n. a throw, a fling: a gibe, sneer: a trial.

Suggested Resources

  1. shy

    Song lyrics by shy -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by shy on the Lyrics.com website.

  2. SHY

    What does SHY stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the SHY acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. SHY

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Shy is ranked #15090 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Shy surname appeared 1,955 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 1 would have the surname Shy.

    51.3% or 1,004 total occurrences were White.
    39% or 764 total occurrences were Black.
    4.1% or 82 total occurrences were Asian.
    2.2% or 44 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    1.8% or 37 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    1.2% or 24 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'shy' in Adjectives Frequency: #976

How to pronounce shy?

How to say shy in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of shy in Chaldean Numerology is: 9

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of shy in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Examples of shy in a Sentence

  1. Jared Bednar:

    We set high expectations, i don’t think we should shy away from trying to achieve them, and the Presidents’ Trophy is one of them.

  2. Yoshiaki Harada:

    Everyone has agreed that we should not shy away from taking the matter to an international arbitration court and starting preparation for that step should be considered.

  3. Erin Scannell:

    I was super shy, like extremely shy, I didn't talk to anyone, and it was hard — really, really hard for a while.

  4. Todd Kupfer:

    Brianna Kupfer was a great role model, Brianna Kupfer was very, very caring. Brianna Kupfer was reserved and quiet and shy at times and some other times Brianna Kupfer'd be the life of the party and Brianna Kupfer just -- Brianna Kupfer really is the role model, i'm so proud of what Brianna Kupfer's accomplished and where Brianna Kupfer was going.

  5. Vladlen Tatarsky:

    Sit here or here. Sit over on the chair, i’ll sit over there. I am too shy.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for shy

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • مورط, خجول, خجلArabic
  • vergonyósCatalan, Valencian
  • plachý, hodit sebou, uskočit, mrštit sebou, opatrný, praštit sebou, odměřenýCzech
  • kast, smide, kaste, genertDanish
  • schüchtern, scheu, verlegenGerman
  • ντροπαλόςGreek
  • tímido, lanzar, reservado, vergonzosoSpanish
  • خجالتیPersian
  • vajaa, heitto, ujo, nolo, arka, heittopaikka, kavahtaa, säikkyä, varovainen, heittääFinnish
  • embarrassé, prudent, timide, apeuréFrench
  • cúthailIrish
  • faitaghManx
  • félénkHungarian
  • pemaluIndonesian
  • feiminnIcelandic
  • adombrarsi, timidoItalian
  • ביישןHebrew
  • 恥ずかしい, 弱気, 慎重, 引っ込み思案, 恥ずかしがり屋, 寡黙Japanese
  • timidus, verecundus, pavidus, timidos agitabisLatin
  • beschroomd, gooiplek, verlegen, klein, aangooi, timide, gooien, voorzichtig, terugspringen, weggooien, verstandig, werpen, bedeesd, worp, gereserveerd, schuchter, gooiplaats, schroomvalligDutch
  • sjenertNorwegian
  • nieśmiałyPolish
  • medroso, avergonhado, arremesso, assustado, envergonhado, lance, tímido, reservado, cuidadoso, lançamento, pávidoPortuguese
  • timidRomanian
  • робкий, нерешительный, смущённый, пугливый, застенчивый, стыдливый, растерянный, стеснительный, осторожныйRussian
  • blygSwedish
  • வெட்கப்படவில்லைTamil
  • utangaçTurkish
  • شرمیلیUrdu
  • nhátVietnamese
  • shyYiddish
  • 害羞Chinese

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    having a build with little fat or muscle but with long limbs
    • A. ectomorphic
    • B. contagious
    • C. aculeate
    • D. equivalent

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