Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “shy”

See all translations

shy

adjective uk   /ʃaɪ/ us  

shy adjective (NERVOUS)

B1 (shyer, shyest) nervous and uncomfortable with other people: He was too shy to ask her to dance with him. She gave a shy smile. Children are often shy of/with people they don't know. The deer were shy (= unwilling to be near people) and hid behind some trees.
More examples

shy adjective (LESS)

[after noun] less than: We're only £100 shy of the total amount.

shy

verb uk   /ʃaɪ/ us  

shy verb (HORSES)

[I] (of a horse) to suddenly move sideways or backwards, especially because of fear: The horse shied at the fence. There's a lot of traffic on the road - I'm sure my horse is going to shy.

shy verb (THROW)

[T usually + adv/prep] old-fashioned informal to throw something suddenly, often in a sideways movement: Two small boys were shying stones at a tree.
Phrasal verbs
(Definition of shy adjective, verb from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of shy?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “shy” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

sail

When a boat or a ship sails, it travels on the water.

Word of the Day

Byronic, Orwellian and Darwinian: adjectives from names.

by Liz Walter,
April 15, 2015
Becoming an adjective is a strange kind of memorial, but it is often a sign of a person having had real influence on the world. Science is full of examples, from Hippocrates, the Greek medic born around 460 BC, who gave his name to the Hippocratic Oath still used by doctors today,

Read More 

dumbwalking noun

April 20, 2015
walking slowly, without paying attention to the world around you because you are consulting a smartphone He told me dumbwalking probably wouldn’t be a long-term problem.

Read More