Definition of shy adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ʃaɪ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ʃaɪ//
    (shyer, shyest) Embarrassment, Nervous
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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. See related entries: Embarrassment, Nervous
  2. 2  showing that somebody 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 of saying so.
  5. 5[not before noun] shy (of something) (informal, especially North American English) 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) He's always been work-shy.
  7. Word OriginOld English scēoh ‘(of a horse) easily frightened’, of Germanic origin; related to German scheuen ‘shun’, scheuchen ‘scare’; compare with eschew. The verb dates from the mid 17th cent.Extra examples He is a naturally shy, retiring man. I was a bit shy of them at first. Please don’t be shy—I won’t eat you! She was terribly shy around strangers. She went all shy and hid behind her mother. You don’t have to be shy with me, you know. Don’t be shy—come and say hello. He gave a shy little smile. She felt suddenly shy as the large crowd fell silent. She was a shy, retiring girl.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: shy