Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “shy”


adjective [-er/-est only]    /ʃɑɪ/ (comparative shyer, superlative shyest)
uncomfortable with other people and unwilling to talk to them: He was too shy to ask her to dance with him. shyly    /ˈʃɑɪ·li/ adverb She smiled shyly. shyness    /ˈʃɑɪ·nəs/ noun [U] They have no shyness about telling you what they think.
(Definition of shy adjective from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of shy

Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Shy and modest, but you might be interested in these topics from the Fear and danger topic area:

Definitions of “shy” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day


the quality of knowing someone very well, liking them a lot, and wanting to spend a lot of time together

Word of the Day


Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More