shy

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English shy (shy), from Old English sċēoh (shy), from Proto-Germanic *skiuhwaz (shy, fearful). Cognate with Dutch schuw (shy), German scheu (shy), Danish sky (shy).

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

shy (2) little girl.

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. 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.

See also[edit]

Usage notes[edit]

  • 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[edit]

Antonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Verb[edit]

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[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Noun[edit]

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[edit]

Translations[edit]