Adjective > Shy

Adjective – Shy

1 a : feeling nervous and uncomfortable about meeting and talking to people

a shy, quiet girl

I was painfully shy as a teenager.

She was too shy to ask for help.

1 b : showing that you are nervous and uncomfortable about meeting and talking to people

her shy manner

He gave her a shy smile.

2 : tending to avoid something because of nervousness, fear, dislike, etc.

publicity shy

— often + of

He was never shy of controversy.

3 : hesitant about taking what you want or need

Help yourself if you want more. Don’t be shy.

4 of an animal : easily frightened : TIMID

animals that are nocturnal and shy

5 chiefly US : having less than a full or expected amount or number : SHORT

We were shy about 10 dollars.

— usually + of

He was two weeks shy of his 19th birthday when he joined the army.

The ball stopped just a few inches shy of the hole.

He’s three credits shy of his bachelor’s degree.

shyly adverb

He answered/smiled shyly.

shyness noun (noncount)