- 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 of coyMiddle English 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 &ellipsis; 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 kwei&schwa;- in Indo-European roots.
(comparative coyer, superlative coyest)
(third-person singular simple present coys, present participle coying, simple past and past participle coyed)