1. Easily frightened; timid; as, a shy bird. "The horses of the army . . . Were no longer shy, but would come up to my very feet without starting." (Swift)

2. Reserved; coy; disinclined to familiar approach. "What makes you so shy, my good friend? There's nobody loves you better than I." (Arbuthnot) "The embarrassed look of shy distress And maidenly shamefacedness." (Wordsworth)

3. Cautious; wary; suspicious. "I am very shy of using corrosive liquors in the preparation of medicines." (Boyle) "Princes are, by wisdom of state, somewhat shy of thier successors." (Sir H. Wotton) To fight shy. See Fight.

Origin: OE. Schey, skey, sceouh, AS. Sceoh; akin to Dan. Sky, Sw. Skygg, D. Schuw, MHG. Schiech, G. Scheu, OHG. Sciuhen to be or make timid. Cf. Eschew.

(01 Mar 1998)