- The definition of coy is pretending or appearing to be shy or modest in an attempt to be playful or flirtatious, or a reluctance to provide information or make a commitment.
- An example of coy is a woman who bats her eyelashes and pretends to be helpless and innocent.
- An example of coy is when you are shy about admitting your age.
- Obsolete quiet; silent
- shrinking from contact or familiarity with others; bashful; shy
- primly reserved; demure
- affecting innocence or shyness, esp. in a playful or coquettish manner
- reticent or evasive, as in making a commitment
- Archaic inaccessible; secluded
- Obsolete disdainfully aloof
Origin: Middle English still, quiet ; from Old French coi, earlier quei ; from Late Latin an unverified form quetus ; from Classical Latin quietus: see quiet
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
adjective coy·er, coy·est
- Tending to avoid people and social situations; reserved.
- Affectedly and usually flirtatiously shy or modest. See Synonyms at shy1.
- Annoyingly unwilling to make a commitment.
Origin: Middle English, from Old French quei, coi, quiet, still, from Vulgar Latin *quētus, from Latin quiētus, past participle of quiēscere, to rest; see kweiə- in Indo-European roots.
- coyˈly adverb
- coyˈness noun