First Name
in the U.S.
since 1880
Last Name
in the U.S.
in 2010
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How to Pronounce Shy

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Meaning and Origin

What does the name Shy mean? Find out below.

Origin and Meaning of Shy

User Submitted Meanings

  • A user from Pennsylvania, United States says the name Shy is of Unknown origin and means "Gift of God".
Other origins: English

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Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
adjective Shy
  1. Easily frightened; timid; as, a shy bird."The horses of the army . . . were no longer shy, but would come up to my very feet without starting." [Swift.]
  2. Reserved; coy; disinclined to familiar approach."What makes you so shy, my good friend? There's nobody loves you better than I." [Arbuthnot.]"The embarrassed look of shy distress And maidenly shamefacedness." [Wordsworth.]
  3. Cautious; wary; suspicious."I am very shy of using corrosive liquors in the preparation of medicines." [Boyle.]"Princes are, by wisdom of state, somewhat shy of thier successors." [Sir H. Wotton.]
  4. Inadequately supplied; short; lacking; as, the team is shy two players.(Slang)
  5. [Poker] owing money to the pot; -- in cases where an opponent's bet has exceeded a player's available stake or chips, but the player chooses to continue playing the hand before adding the required bet to the pot.(Slang)

Etymology: OE. schey skey sceouh, AS. sceóh; akin to Dan. sky, Sw. skygg, D. schuw, MHG. schiech, G. scheu, OHG. sciuhen to be or make timid. Cf. Eschew

verb Shy
To start suddenly aside through fright or suspicion; -- said especially of horses.

Etymology: From Shy (a.)

verb Shy
To throw sidewise with a jerk; to fling; as, to shy a stone; to shy a slipper.
noun Shy
  1. A sudden start aside, as by a horse.
  2. A side throw; a throw; a fling."If Lord Brougham gets a stone in his hand, he must, it seems, have a shy at somebody." [Punch.]
Other Dictionary Sources
  1. A quick throw ("he gave the ball a shy to the first baseman")
  2. Throw quickly
  3. Start suddenly, as from fright
  4. Wary and distrustful; disposed to avoid persons or things ("shy of strangers")
  5. Lacking self-confidence
  6. Short ("eleven is one shy of a dozen")

From Middle English shy (“shy”), from Old English sċēoh (“shy”), from Proto-Germanic *skeuhaz (“shy, fearful”). Cognate with Saterland Frisian skjou (“shy”), Dutch schuw (“shy”), German scheu (“shy”), Danish sky (“shy”).

  1. An act of throwing.
  2. A place for throwing.
  3. A sudden start aside, as by a horse.
  4. In the Eton College wall game, a point scored by lifting the ball against the wall in the calx.

Notable Persons Named Shy

Shy Glizzy is a hip hop music musician. He was most prominent from 2012 to present. Shy was given the name Marquis Amonte King on December 12th, 1992.


Shy FX is a drum, bass, oldschool jungle, and hip hop music musician. He has had major accomplishments since 1992. Shy was given the name Andre Williams .


Shy Carlos is a pop music actress, singer, dancer, model, vj, actor, singing, dance, model (people), and vj (media personality). Her most notable accomplishments were from 2008 to present. Shy was given the name Schirin Grace Sigrist on March 16th, 1995 in Bern. Shy is also known as Sigrist and Schirin Grace.


Shy Girls is an alternative r&b singer-songwriter and record producer. His most notable accomplishments were from 2012 to present. Shy was given the name Dan Vidmar in State College, Pennsylvania.


Shy was born on August 21st, 1984.



Notable Persons With the Last Name Shy


Les Shy is a football player. He was most active from 1966 to 1970. Les was born on April 5th, 1944 in Cleveland.


Carl was born on September 13th, 1908. He passed away on December 17th, 1991.


Don Shy is a football player for the Pittsburgh Steelers, New Orleans Saints, Chicago Bears, and Arizona Cardinals. He was most prominent from 1967 to 1973. Don was born on November 15th, 1945 in Cleveland.


Where is the name Shy popular?

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Popularity of Shy as a last name

The map shows the absolute popularity of the name Shy as a last name in each of the states. See other popular names in Missouri, Georgia, or Ohio.

Common first names for Shy

Ethnicity Distribution

Ethnicity Shy U.S.
  White 51.36% 64.26%
  African American 39.08% 11.96%
  Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander 4.19% 4.85%
  American Indian and Alaska Native 1.23% 0.69%
  Two or More Ethnicities 2.25% 1.76%
  Hispanic or Latino 1.89% 16.26%

Of Last Name Shy

People with the last name Shy are most frequently White or African American

Entire United States

Fun Facts about the name Shy

  • How Popular is the name Shy? Shy is the 18,171st most popular name of all time. As a last name Shy was the 15,090th most popular name in 2010.
  • How many people with the first name Shy have been born in the United States? From 1880 to 2017, the Social Security Administration has recorded 415 babies born with the first name Shy in the United States. That's more than enough people named Shy to occupy the territory of Pitcairn Islands (United Kingdom) with an estimated population of 66 (as of July 1, 2008).
  • What year were 5 or more babies first named Shy? The name was first given to 5 or more babies in the year 1973 when it was given as a first name to 7 new born babies.
  • When was Shy first recorded in the United States? The oldest recorded birth by the Social Security Administration for the first name Shy is Wednesday, June 6th, 1883.
  • What year had the most people named Shy born? The highest recorded use of the first name Shy was in 1997 with a total of 32 babies.
  • Weird things about the name Shy: Your name in reverse order is Yhs. A random rearrangement of the letters in your name (anagram) will give Hys. How do you pronounce that?
  • How many people have the last name Shy? In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed 1,955 people with the last name Shy.
  • How likely are you to meet someone with the last name of Shy? Chances are, most people haven't met someone with Shy as their last name since less than 1 person in 152k people have that last name. If you know one, consider yourself lucky!

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  • Sources:
  • U.S. Census Bureau: Frequently Occurring Surnames from the Census 2000 (public domain).
  • U.S. Social Security Administration: Popular Baby Names, Death Master File (public domain).
  • 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary via the Collaborative International Dictionary of English (License)
  • Other Dictionary Sources: WordNet 3.1 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University (License).
  • Wiktionary: Titles and License.
  • Notable persons via Wikipedia: Titles and License. Click each image for the attribution information.