shy 1 (shī)
adj. shi·er (shīər), shi·est (shīĭst) or shy·er or shy·est
1. Easily startled; timid: a shy deer.
a. Tending to avoid contact or familiarity with others; retiring or reserved: a shy student who stayed in the back of the room.
b. Characterized by reserve or diffidence: a shy glance.
3. Distrustful; wary: shy of strangers.
4. Not having a sufficient or specified amount, as of money: was shy $100 on his rent; was two victories shy of the school record.
intr.v. shied (shīd), shy·ing, shies (shīz)
1. To move suddenly or draw back, as if startled or afraid: The horse shied at the loud sound.
2. To avoid engaging in, treating, or discussing something: "a film adaptation that would not shy away from the novel's controversial themes" (Scot French).
n. pl. shies (shīz)
A sudden movement, as from fright; a start.
[Middle English schey, from Old English scēoh.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.