Definitions and meaning of shy
From Middle English shy (“shy”), from Old English sċēoh (“shy”), from Proto-West Germanic *skeuh (“shy, fearful”), from Proto-Germanic *skeuhaz (“shy, fearful”). Cognate with Saterland Frisian skjou (“shy”), Dutch schuw (“shy”), German scheu (“shy”), Danish sky (“shy”).
- IPA(key): /ʃaɪ/
- Rhymes: -aɪ
- Homophone: Chi
shy (comparative shier or shyer or more shy, superlative shiest or shyest or most shy)
- Easily frightened; timid.
- 1726, Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels
- The horses of the army, and those of the royal stables, having been daily led before me, were no longer shy, but would come up to my very feet without starting.
- Reserved; disinclined to familiar approach.
- Synonyms: see Thesaurus:shy
- Antonyms: audacious, bold, brazen, gregarious, extroverted, outgoing
- 1712, John Arbuthnot, The History of John Bull
- What makes you so shy, my good friend? There's nobody loves you better than I.
- Cautious; wary; suspicious.
- 1641, Henry Wotton, The Characters of Robert Devereux and George Villiers
- Princes are, by wisdom of state, somewhat shy of their successors.
- 1661, Robert Boyle , Some Considerations Touching Experimental Essays in General
- I am very shy of building any thing of moment upon foundations
- (informal) Short, insufficient or less than.
- (Can we add an example for this sense?)
- 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.
- shy bairns get nowt, shy bairns get noot
shy (third-person singular simple present shies, present participle shying, simple past and past participle shied)
- (intransitive) To avoid due to caution or timidness.
- (intransitive) To jump back in fear.
- (transitive) To throw sideways with a jerk; to fling.
shy (plural shies)
- An act of throwing.
- Foker discharged a prodigious bouquet at her, and even Smirke made a feeble shy with a rose, and blushed dreadfully when it fell into the pit
- 1846, Punch Volume 10
- 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.
- A place for throwing.
- A sudden start aside, as by a horse.
- In the Eton College wall game, a point scored by lifting the ball against the wall in the calx.
- SHWA, (German) a vowel sound, like "a" in alone or "e" in linen, that in English often appears unstressed.
(source: Collins Scrabble Dictionary)