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coy

adjective

Definition: 1. pretending to be reserved or modest, usually in a teasing manner; 2. reluctant to make a definite commitment; 3. shy or reserved

Synonyms: coquettish, arch, evasive, shy, skittish, timid, bashful

Antonyms: bold, brazen, shameless, pushy

Tips: Coy shares a root with the Latin word quietus, "quiet." It most often implies that someone ultimately intends to do something, but is keeping that knowledge to him or herself (keeping quiet about it) and pretending to be undecided. It can also mean that the person really is undecided and is keeping quiet about his or her intentions for that reason. The outward signs of coyness resemble shyness or bashfulness, thus the word has also come to denote those qualities.

Usage Examples:

Julie really wants to date Don; she is just being coy in not saying yes immediately. (coquettish)

We can't get the client to commit to the contract; they think they will gain an advantage by being coy. (evasive)

When I asked her if she had a boyfriend, she smiled coyly, but did not answer. (coquettishly, shyly) adverb

Her coy demeanor usually left people wondering what she had up her sleeve. (evasive, skittish)


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