A child being coy.
- 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.
- Obs. 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
- Obs. disdainfully aloof
Origin of coyME, still, quiet from Old French coi, earlier quei from Late Latin an unverified form quetus from Classical Latin quietus: see quiet
- a. Affectedly and often flirtatiously shy or modest: “I pictured myself as some sylvan deity, and she a coy wood nymph of whom I was in pursuit” ( Washington Irving )b. Characterized by or suggesting such shyness or modesty: “How absurd I must have looked standing there before him … a coy little simper on my foolish young face” ( Jane Avrich )
- Unwilling to make a commitment or divulge information: “As a child, when I asked my mother her age she was coy and evasive” ( Lynne Sharon Schwartz )
- Tending to avoid people and social situations; reserved: “The children were staring up at him, too coy to question him and too curious not to stare” ( Edwidge Danticat )
Origin of coyMiddle 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.
(comparative coyer, superlative coyest)
(third-person singular simple present coys, present participle coying, simple past and past participle coyed)