I. adjective (shier or shyer; shiest or shyest) Etymology: Middle English schey, from Old English scēoh; akin to Old High German sciuhen to frighten off Date: before 12th century 1. easily frightened ; timid 2. disposed to avoid a person or thing <
publicity shy
3. hesitant in committing oneself ; circumspect 4. sensitively diffident or retiring ; reserved; also expressive of such a state or nature <
a shy smile
5. secluded, hidden 6. having less than the full or specified amount or number ; short <
just shy of six feet tall
7. disreputable <
gambling hells and shy saloons — Blackwood's
shyly adverbshyness noun Synonyms: shy, bashful, diffident, modest, coy mean not inclined to be forward. shy implies a timid reserve and a shrinking from familiarity or contact with others <
shy with strangers
. bashful implies a frightened or hesitant shyness characteristic of childhood and adolescence <
a bashful boy out on his first date
. diffident stresses a distrust of one's own ability or opinion that causes hesitation in acting or speaking <
felt diffident about raising an objection
. modest suggests absence of undue confidence or conceit <
modest about her success
. coy implies a pretended shyness <
put off by her coy manner
. II. intransitive verb (shied; shying) Date: 1649 1. to develop or show a dislike or distaste — usually used with from or away from <
an author who shies away from publicity
2. to start suddenly aside through fright or alarm III. noun (plural shies) Date: 1791 a sudden start aside (as from fright) IV. verb (shied; shying) Etymology: perhaps from 1shy Date: 1787 intransitive verb to make a sudden throw transitive verb to throw (an object) with a jerk ; fling V. noun (plural shies) Date: 1791 1. the act of shying ; toss, throw 2. a verbal fling or attack 3. cockshy

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

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