Meaning of “shy” in the English Dictionary

"shy" in British English

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uk /ʃaɪ/ us /ʃaɪ/

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

  • Underneath that shy exterior, she's actually a very warm person.
  • Tom is very extrovert and confident while Katy's shy and quiet.
  • He was shy and unassuming and not at all how you expect an actor to be.
  • Paulo's very shy - he needs bringing out.
  • Suddenly shy, our young daughter burrowed her head into my shoulder.


uk /ʃaɪ/ us /ʃaɪ/


uk / -ʃaɪ/ us / -ʃaɪ/

(Definition of “shy” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"shy" in American English

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shyadjective [ -er/-est only ]

us /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.
adverb us /ˈʃɑɪ·li/

She smiled shyly.
noun [ U ] us /ˈʃɑɪ·nəs/

They have no shyness about telling you what they think.

shyverb [ I ]

us /ʃɑɪ/

(of a horse) to move back suddenly, esp. from fear or surprise.

(Definition of “shy” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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