schüchtern

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German[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From German Low German, akin to scheu. An earlier form was schüchter, whence Dutch schuchter.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

schüchtern (comparative schüchterner, superlative am schüchternsten)

  1. shy

Usage notes[edit]

The words scheu and schüchtern both translate into English as “shy”. Although they are sometimes synonyms in German as well, there is generally a subtle distinction: scheu means “avoiding contact with others”, whereas schüchtern means “feeling uncomfortable or awkward in contact with others”. (Hence, one's being schüchtern may but need not lead to one's becoming scheu.)

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