Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Shy, self-conscious, and awkward in the presence of others.
  • adjective Characterized by, showing, or resulting from shyness, self-consciousness, or awkwardness.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Wanting in self-possession; fearful; dismayed.
  • Easily put to confusion; modest to excess; diffident; shy; sheepish.
  • Indicative of, accompanied with, or proceeding from bashfulness.
  • Exciting bashfulness or shame.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective obsolete Abashed; daunted; dismayed.
  • adjective Very modest, or modest to excess; constitutionally disposed to shrink from public notice; indicating extreme or excessive modesty; shy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective this sense?) inclined to avoid notice

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective disposed to avoid notice
  • adjective self-consciously timid

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[From obsolete bash, to abash, be abashed (from Middle English basshen, variant of abaishen, abasshen; see abash) + –ful.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Aphesis of abashed +‎ -ful (“full of”).

Examples

  • He was roundly congratulated on having salvaged the ship, for in the days before he sailed, the Paragon became known as a bashful but courteous ship, given to few words but occasionally smiling so as to melt anyone's heart.

    Ship Of Magic

  • To her father's disgust she bought them both, and presented them to two wide-eyed children who in bashful fascination were dogging their footsteps.

    Jerry Junior

  • The others called the bashful, baby-faced Talib "The Doctor."

    Pat Dollard | Young Americans

  • The others called the bashful, baby-faced Talib "The Doctor."

    The Torch

  • "Now over here, folks, we have a formation called the bashful elephant."

    The Time of the Transference

  • But wisdom makes men bashful, which is the reason that those wise men have so little to do, unless it be with poverty, hunger, and chimney corners; that they live such neglected, unknown, and hated lives: whereas fools abound in money, have the chief commands in the commonwealth, and in a word, flourish every way.

    In Praise of Folly

  • After supper that evening, Uncle Kit suggested that we visit the emigrant camp and see the ladies, which did not altogether meet with my approval, but rather than be called bashful, I went along with the crowd.

    Thirty-One Years on the Plains and In the Mountains

  • Lord George professed that he had observed the same thing; but then, as he whispered into Mr. Nappie's ear, Mr. Greystock was particularly known as a bashful man.

    The Eustace Diamonds

  • After supper that evening, Uncle Kit suggested that we visit the emigrant camp and see the ladies, which did not altogether meet with my approval, but rather than be called bashful, I went along with the crowd.

    Thirty-One Years on the Plains and in the Mountains, Or, the Last Voice from the Plains

  • Lord George professed that he had observed the same thing; but then, as he whispered into Mr. Nappie's ear, Mr. Greystock was particularly known as a bashful man.

    The Eustace Diamonds

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • "Sure you mistake, papa! A French dancing-master could never have taught him that timid look—that awkward address—that bashful manner—"

    Goldsmith, She Stoops, III

    January 11, 2007

  • a pleasing conjunction of 'sh' and 'f', see also wishful; and I also like the contrast between the definition and the connotations of 'bash'

    September 23, 2008