Definition of coy in US English:

coy

adjective

  • 1(especially with reference to a woman) making a pretense of shyness or modesty that is intended to be alluring.

    ‘she treated him to a coy smile of invitation’
    • ‘True, she's as coy and feminine as she wants to be.’
    • ‘His second memoir can thus be read as a rather coy critique of his first.’
    • ‘There are plenty of hoots and whistles, derision for the woman's coy smile and smeared-on lipstick.’
    • ‘We've flirted at balls, and she was as coy as a twenty-four year-old!’
    • ‘She gave him a coy glance and leaned over to whisper into his ear.’
    • ‘Her smile was coy, and she playfully tilted her head, an inquisitive glimmer in her eyes.’
    • ‘I saw the girls giggle as they passed, flicking coy glances at me.’
    • ‘He wasn't so coy that he didn't realize he was a star.’
    • ‘Everyone else acts coy, stupid, and young throughout the rest of episode.’
    • ‘Gem returned the stare, a coy smile creeping its way onto her countenance.’
    • ‘Aurora had stated gently, giving him a coy side glance without realizing it.’
    • ‘You're being much too coy with power - it's like you're playing hard to get or something.’
    • ‘"Because it's, um, embarrassing, " I said, trying to act so coy.’
    • ‘She's coy enough to curdle butter, looking up at him from under her lashes.’
    • ‘"Don't play coy with me, " she said with a laugh.’
    • ‘But even those who decide to play coy won't have long to wait.’
    • ‘"He seemed a bit coy and shy about it and he didn't even want any thanks.’
    • ‘A coy smile slipped onto his face, and he cocked his head slightly.’
    • ‘For a women who takes her clothes off for a living, Ms Deneuve is a bit coy.’
    • ‘She smiled at Rochelle and nodded with a coy smile playing on her lips.’
    arch, simpering, coquettish, flirtatious, kittenish, skittish
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Reluctant to give details, especially about something regarded as sensitive.
      ‘he is coy about his age’
      • ‘Clifford is coy about this, ‘No, I think I've got my work cut out here quite frankly.’’
      • ‘Yet he proves coy about his contract intentions.’
      • ‘This was no time to be coy about asking for money.’
      • ‘Nor was the administration coy about its reasons.’
      • ‘They should also know what symptoms to look out for and not be coy about seeking medical attention.’
      • ‘Not surprisingly, the phone network companies are a little coy about admitting they have this ability.’
      • ‘Adrian Eastwood is a little coy about the idea that bookies know better than polls or punters.’
      • ‘But she's coy about revealing how many, with what qualifications, or where they are based.’
      • ‘In fact, the film is remarkably coy about sex in general.’
      • ‘She is suddenly coy and protective of her creativity.’
      • ‘She is coy about how much is in the coffers, but says ACT is aiming to match what it spent in 2002.’
      • ‘In fact, the White House has been coy about the ‘reduction’ of nuclear weapons contemplated under NPR.’
      • ‘Wilder remained coy about his own political beliefs, at least publicly.’
      • ‘As a writer she is coy about her influences, although she will admit to admiring Jilly Cooper.’
      • ‘Woods is coy about how he feels about Garcia's progress.’
      • ‘The former Boro player himself remains coy on the subject but, tellingly, does not rule it out.’
      • ‘Others have been far less coy on the subject of drug use.’
      • ‘One reporter decided to be less coy and actually used the word ' groin ' in his copy!’
      • ‘The company pleads competitive sensitivity for being so coy on this.’
      • ‘The JVP leadership has been remarkably coy about providing an answer.’
    2. 1.2dated Quiet and reserved; shy.
      • ‘Adrienne was playing coy and quiet, wearing a look of supreme contentment on her face.’

Origin

Middle English: from Old French coi, quei, from Latin quietus (see quiet). The original sense was ‘quiet, still’ (especially in behavior), later ‘modestly retiring’, and hence (of a woman) ‘affecting to be unresponsive to advances’.

Pronunciation

coy

/koi//kɔɪ/