Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

shy - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

adjective     shy pronunciation in American English
Word Forms
  1. 1
    nervous and embarrassed in the company of other people, especially people who you do not know

    Archie was shy and awkward.

    I’d love to meet her, but I’m too shy to introduce myself.

    1. a.
      shy behavior shows that someone is nervous or not confident

      a shy grin

      He gave Joanna a quick shy glance.

  2. 2
    not willing to do or be involved in something, because it makes you feel nervous or embarrassed
    shy about/of:

    He is very shy about singing in public.

derived words



Kevin and Ashley smiled shyly at each other.


     shyness pronunciation in American English
noun [uncountable]


a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play