American English

Definition of shy adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    (shyer, shyest)
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  1. 1(of people) nervous or embarrassed about meeting and speaking to other people synonym timid a quiet, shy man Don't be shy—come and say hello. She was too shy to ask anyone for help. As a teenager I was painfully shy. She's very shy with adults.
  2. 2showing that someone is nervous or embarrassed about meeting and speaking to other people a shy smile
  3. 3(of animals) easily frightened and not willing to come near people The panda is a shy creature.
  4. 4[not before noun] shy of/about (doing) something afraid of doing something or being involved in something The band has never been shy of publicity. He disliked her and had never been shy about saying so. see also gun-shy
  5. 5[not before noun] shy (of something) (informal) lacking the amount that is needed He died before Christmas, only a month shy of his 90th birthday. We are still two players shy (of a full team).
  6. 6-shy (in compounds) avoiding or not liking the thing mentioned camera-shy (= not liking to be photographed) an elusive, publicity-shy artist
    adverb She smiled shyly.
  8. shyness noun [uncountable]
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  9. He tried to overcome his shyness.
  10. Idioms
    once bitten, twice shy (saying)
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    after an unpleasant experience you are careful to avoid something similar
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: shy