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Webster 1913 Edition


Shy

Shy

(shī)
,
Adj.
[
Com
par.
Shier
(shī′ẽr)
or
Shyer
;
sup
erl.
Shiest
or
Shyest
.]
[OE.
schey
,
skey
,
sceouh
, AS.
sceóh
; akin to Dan.
sky
, Sw.
skygg
, D.
schuw
, MHG.
schiech
, G.
scheu
, OHG.
sciuhen
to be or make timid. Cf.
Eschew
.]
1.
Easily frightened; timid;
as, a
shy
bird
.
The horses of the army . . . were no longer
shy
, but would come up to my very feet without starting.
Swift.
2.
Reserved; coy; disinclined to familiar approach.
What makes you so
shy
, my good friend? There’s nobody loves you better than I.
Arbuthnot.
The embarrassed look of
shy
distress
And maidenly shamefacedness.
Wordsworth.
3.
Cautious; wary; suspicious.
I am very
shy
of using corrosive liquors in the preparation of medicines.
Boyle.
Princes are, by wisdom of state, somewhat
shy
of thier successors.
Sir H. Wotton.
To fight shy
.
See under
Fight
,
Verb.
I.

Shy

,
Verb.
I.
[
imp. & p. p.
Shied
;
p. pr. & vb. n.
Shying
.]
[From
Shy
,
Adj.
]
To start suddenly aside through fright or suspicion; – said especially of horses.

Shy

,
Verb.
T.
To throw sidewise with a jerk; to fling;
as, to
shy
a stone; to
shy
a slipper
.
T. Hughes.

Shy

,
Noun.
1.
A sudden start aside, as by a horse.
2.
A side throw; a throw; a fling.
Thackeray.
If Lord Brougham gets a stone in his hand, he must, it seems, have a
shy
at somebody.
Punch.

Webster 1828 Edition


Shy

SHY

,
Adj.
1. Fearful of near approach; keeping at a distance through caution or timidity; shunning approach; as a shy bird.
She is represented in a shy retiring posture. Addison.
2. Reserved; not familiar; coy; avoiding freedom of intercourse.
What makes you so shy, my good friend? Arbuthnot.
3. Cautious; wary; careful to avoid committing one's self or adopting measures.
I am very shy of using corrosive liquors in the preparation of medicines.

Definition 2022


shy

shy

English

Adjective

shy (comparative shier or shyer, superlative shiest or shyest)

  1. Easily frightened; timid.
    • Jonathan Swift
      The horses of the army [] were no longer shy, but would come up to my very feet without starting.
  2. Reserved; disinclined to familiar approach.
    He is very shy with strangers.
    • Arbuthnot
      What makes you so shy, my good friend? There's nobody loves you better than I.
  3. Cautious; wary; suspicious.
    • Boyle
      I am very shy of using corrosive liquors in the preparation of medicines.
    • Sir H. Wotton
      Princes are, by wisdom of state, somewhat shy of their successors.
  4. (informal) Short, insufficient or less than.
    By our count your shipment came up two shy of the bill of lading amount.
    It is just shy of a mile from here to their house.
  5. Embarrassed. (Can we add an example for this sense?)

See also

Usage notes

  • Often used in combination with a noun to produce an adjective or adjectival phrase.
  • Adjectives are usually applicable to animals (leash-shy "shy of leashes" or head shy "shy of contact around the head" (of horses)) or to children.

Synonyms

  • See also Wikisaurus:shy

Antonyms

Derived terms

Translations

Verb

shy (third-person singular simple present shies, present participle shying, simple past and past participle shied)

  1. (intransitive) To avoid due to timidness or caution.
    I shy away from investment opportunities I don't understand.
  2. (intransitive) To jump back in fear.
    The horse shied away from the rider, which startled him so much he shied away from the horse.
  3. (transitive) to throw sideways with a jerk; to fling
    to shy a stone; to shy a slipper
    (Can we find and add a quotation of T. Hughes to this entry?)

Translations

Noun

shy (plural shies)

  1. An act of throwing.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Thackeray to this entry?)
    • Punch
      If Lord Brougham gets a stone in his hand, he must, it seems, have a shy at somebody.
    • 2008, James Kelman, Kieron Smith, Boy, Penguin 2009, p. 55:
      The game had started. A man was chasing the ball, it went out for a shy.
  2. A place for throwing.
    coconut shy
  3. A sudden start aside, as by a horse.
  4. In the Eton College wall game, a point scored by lifting the ball against the wall in the calx.

Derived terms

Translations