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See also: 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”).
shy (comparative shier or shyer or more shy, superlative shiest or shyest or most shy)
- Easily frightened; timid.
- 1726 October 28, [Jonathan Swift], Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. […] [Gulliver’s Travels], London: […] Benj[amin] Motte, […], →OCLC, (please specify |part=I, II, III or IV):
- 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, outgoing
- He is very shy with strangers.
- 1712, John Arbuthnot, The History of John Bull:
- What makes you so shy, my good friend? There's nobody loves you better than I.
- 2015 October 30, chapter 6, in The Graham Norton Show, season 18:
- Graham Norton: But the people coming up to you now, like the Americans, well, you know, the Americans, they're not shy, the Americans. / Maggie Smith: No. Well, no but I don't go anywhere where really they can get at me. It's usually in museums and art galleries and things, so that limits things. I keep away from there, and Harrod's I don't go near.
- Cautious; wary; suspicious.
- 16, [Samuel Butler], Hudibras. The , London; republished in A[lfred] R[ayney] Waller, editor, Hudibras: Written in the Time of the Late Wars, Cambridge: University Press, 1905, →OCLC, canto 1:
- We grant, although he had much wit, / H' was very shy of using it; / As being loth to wear it out, / And therefore bore it not about,
- 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, “A Proemial Essay, wherein, with Some Considerations Touching Experimental Essays in General, is Interwoven such an Introduction to All Those Written by the Author, as is Necessary to be Perus’d for the Better Understanding of Them”, in Certain Physiological Essays and Other Tracts; […], 2nd edition, London: […] Henry Herringman […], published 1669, →OCLC, page 33:
- […] I am very ſhy of building any thing of moment upon foundations that I eſteem ſo unſure, […]
- (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.
- 2013, Terence Winter, The Wolf of Wall Street, spoken by Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio):
- The year I turned 26, as the head of my own brokerage firm, I made $49 million, which really pissed me off because it was three shy of a million a week.
- 2018 December 1, Tom Rostance, “Southampton 2 – 2 Manchester United”, in BBC Sport:
- United move seventh - still six points off a Champions League place and a massive 16 shy of the lead held by rivals Manchester City.
- (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.
short, less than
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
Translations to be checked
shy (third-person singular simple present shies, present participle shying, simple past and past participle shied)
- (intransitive) To avoid due to caution, embarrassment or timidness.
- I shy away from investment opportunities I don't understand.
- (intransitive) To jump back in fear.
- The horse shied away from the rider, which startled him so much he shied away from the horse.
- (transitive) To throw sideways with a jerk; to fling.
- to shy a stone
- shy a slipper
- 1857, [Thomas Hughes], “How the Tide Turned”, in Tom Brown’s School Days. […], Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: Macmillan & Co., →OCLC, part II, page 248:
- Then two or three boys laughed and sneered, and a big brutal fellow, who was standing in the middle of the room, picked up a slipper, and shied it at the kneeling boy, calling him a snivelling young shaver.
- 1868 January 4 – June 6, [William] Wilkie Collins, “First Period. The Loss of the Diamond (1848). […]”, in The Moonstone. A Romance. […], volume I, London: Tinsley Brothers, […], published 1868, →OCLC, chapter VI, page 78:
- "I was thinking, sir," I answered, "that I should like to shy the Diamond into the quicksand, and settle the question in that way."
- (Scottish) (transitive) or (intransitive) To throw a ball with two hands above the head, especially when it has crossed the side lines in a football (soccer) match. To hit the ball back into play from the sidelines in a shinty match.
to avoid due to timidness or caution — see shy away
to jump back in fear
shy (plural shies)
- An act of throwing.
- 1848 November – 1850 December, William Makepeace Thackeray, The History of Pendennis. […], volume (please specify |volume=I or II), London: Bradbury and Evans, […], published 1849–1850, →OCLC:
- 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, published 2009, page 55:
- The game had started. A man was chasing the ball, it went out for a shy.
- A place for throwing.
- coconut shy
- 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.
- (Scottish) In soccer, a throw-in from the sidelines, using two hands above the head. In shinty, the act of tossing the ball above the head and hitting it with the shaft of the caman to bring it back into play after it has been hit out of the field.
act of throwing
place for throwing
- English terms inherited from Middle English
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