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

  • adj. Easily startled; timid.
  • adj. Drawing back from contact or familiarity with others; retiring or reserved.
  • adj. Marked by reserve or diffidence: a shy glance.
  • adj. Distrustful; wary: shy of strangers.
  • adj. Not having paid an amount due, as one's ante in poker.
  • adj. Short; lacking: Eleven is one shy of a dozen.
  • intransitive v. To move suddenly, as if startled; start.
  • intransitive v. To draw back, as from fear or caution; recoil.
  • n. A sudden movement, as from fright; a start.
  • transitive v. To throw (something) with a swift motion; fling.
  • intransitive v. To throw something with a swift motion.
  • n. A quick throw; a fling.
  • n. Informal A gibe; a sneer.
  • n. Informal An attempt; a try.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Easily frightened; timid.
  • adj. Reserved; disinclined to familiar approach.
  • adj. Cautious; wary; suspicious.
  • adj. Short, insufficient or less than.
  • adj. Embarrassed.
  • v. To avoid due to timidness or caution.
  • v. To jump back in fear.
  • v. to throw a ball or other missile at a target
  • n. An act of throwing.
  • n. A place for throwing.
  • n. A sudden start aside, as by a horse.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Easily frightened; timid.
  • adj. Reserved; coy; disinclined to familiar approach.
  • adj. Cautious; wary; suspicious.
  • adj. Inadequately supplied; short; lacking.
  • adj. owing money to the pot; -- in cases where an opponent's bet has exceeded a player's available stake or chips, but the player chooses to continue playing the hand before adding the required bet to the pot.
  • n. A sudden start aside, as by a horse.
  • n. A side throw; a throw; a fling.
  • intransitive v. To start suddenly aside through fright or suspicion; -- said especially of horses.
  • transitive v. To throw sidewise with a jerk; to fling.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Readily frightened away; easily startled; skittish; timid.
  • Shrinking from familiarity or self-assertive-ness; sensitively timid; retiring; bashful; coy.
  • Keeping away from some person or thing through timidity or caution; fearful of approaching; disposed to avoid: followed by of.
  • Cautious; wary; careful: commonly followed by of or about.
  • Elusive; hard to find, get at, obtain, or accomplish.
  • Morally circumspect; scrupulous.
  • Keen; piercing; bold; sharp.
  • Sly; sharp; cunning.
  • Scant. The wind is said to be shy when it will barely allow a vessel to sail on her course.
  • Synonyms Diffident, shamefaced. See bashfulness.
  • To shrink or start back or aside, as in sudden fear: said specifically of a horse.
  • To avoid; shun (a person).
  • To fling; throw; jerk; toss.
  • To throw off; toss or send out at random.
  • To throw a missile; specifically, to jerk.
  • Hence, in general, to lack; be short of: as, to be shy four dollars.
  • n. A sudden start aside, as from fear, especially one made by a horse.
  • n. A quick, jerking, or careless throw; a fling.
  • n. A fling; a sneer; a gibe.
  • n. A trial; an experiment.
  • n. In cricket, a ball thrown instead of bowled.

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

  • adj. lacking self-confidence
  • adj. short
  • n. a quick throw
  • adj. wary and distrustful; disposed to avoid persons or things
  • v. start suddenly, as from fright
  • v. throw quickly


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

Middle English schey, from Old English scēoh.
Perhaps from shy1.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English shy ("shy"), from Old English sċēoh ("shy"), from Proto-Germanic *skiuhwaz (“shy, fearful”). Cognate with Dutch schuw ("shy"), German scheu ("shy"), Danish sky ("shy").


  • V. i.54 (121,7) [as shy, as grave, as just, as absolute] _As shy_; as reserved, as abstracted: _as just_; as nice, as exact: _as absolute_; as complete in all the round of duty.

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  • Most experts suggest that the term "shy" should not be used as a label.

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  • William Sears, a well-known author and pediatrician, feels very strongly that the term "shy" should be avoided.

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  • Los Angeles had lost a seventh game to Boston four times previously - but those teams didn't have Bryant, who's just one title shy of Michael Jordan's six rings after winning his second title without Shaquille O'Neal, his partner in the first three.


  • They added Anderson to their O-line mix after losing Ogden, took care of rookie passer Joe Flacco, ran the ball solidly with a troika of backs and fell one win shy of reaching the Super Bowl.

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  • No matter how much cash the central bank pumps into the banking system, money isn't circulating to the broader economy as companies and individuals remain shy about borrowing, analysts say.

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  • Lee came into the game one win shy of matching the record set by Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez for the best start to a postseason career.

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  • July 1947 and was discharged in February 1949, serving almost four years total — 36 years shy from the 40 he claims.

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  • Ohio State slowly floated to the top of the Big Ten, winning the regular season championship, tournament championship and falling one win shy of the second 30-win season in the history of the program.

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  • His writing didn't shy from the big big plots, which I love.

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  • My dear old doll! I was such a shy little thing that I seldom dared to open my lips, and never dared to open my heart, to anybody else.

    -Charles Dickens Bleak House

    July 26, 2009

  • I haave no comment.

    May 23, 2009

  • In NYPD Blue usage, short for shyster.

    October 29, 2008