Definition of coyness in English:



  • 1(especially in a woman) the quality of feigning shyness or modesty in an attempt to seem alluring.

    • ‘He held her by the shoulders and looked straight into her eyes, past the familiar coyness and unfamiliar anger until he saw the quiet spot he was looking for.’
    • ‘Bravely and unselfconsciously, this generous actress looks middle-aged, yet with that gangly tomboyish essence that allows her to play young without resorting to cosmetic artifice or girly-girl coyness.’
    • ‘Nor is it totally incomprehensible that some people find Britney's coyness in interviews disingenuous.’
    • ‘I could never predict what would set it off, the coyness or the flighty laughter that would usually gain me at least one attentive admirer for a night.’
    • ‘Such coyness raises my suspicions a little.’
    • ‘My lady, fair and lovely and unkind, your gentle coyness wounds me to the heart.’
    • ‘Her playful tone echoes these predecessors, but with a coyness that seems distinctly feminine.’
    • ‘I only answered by an incredulous smile, which, for all his monastic subtlety, struck him as the expression of a young girl's coyness.’
    • ‘Miss Austen also raises the question many intelligent women find themselves asking: Is all this coyness really necessary?’
    • ‘Elizabeth was not so easy to give in to such coyness.’
    • ‘And then there's her apparent coyness about her breasts.’
    • ‘Lord of my heart, no more shall there be for me waiting in corners, no more coyness and sweetness of demeanour.’
    • ‘Why does Rebecca's coyness work?’
    • ‘An elegant lady, he believed, initially refuses the proposals of a man whom she secretly admires; through her coyness she seeks to capture his heart more firmly.’
    • ‘Mr. Darcy frowned while he normally enjoyed Miss Elizabeth's coyness, at time like these it could be most vexing.’
    • ‘Suddenly the coyness was gone from her voice, replaced by genuine wistfulness.’
    • ‘Passivity, submissiveness and coyness can be dangerous, and may create an atmosphere of sexual aggression.’
    • ‘The customary number with children from the audience goes without gush or embarrassing coyness.’
    • ‘Machismo, an attitude of male superiority and sexism, is widespread (marianismo, an attitude of female passivity and coyness, is the counterpart of machismo).’
    • ‘In the subsequent intervals the females continually respond with near optimal coyness.’
    archness, simpering, coquettishness, flirtatiousness, kittenishness, skittishness
    shyness, modesty, bashfulness, reticence, diffidence, self-effacement, timidity, demureness
    View synonyms
  • 2The quality of being reluctant to give details about something regarded as sensitive; reticence.

    ‘the company's coyness about their spring offering’
    • ‘Gould is describing a paradigm shift, and this fact is all the more obvious for his unwonted coyness in discussing it.’
    • ‘While the record's disposition may be a departure for these New Yorkers, their coyness in discussing it is not.’
    • ‘Yet agents and buying agents, with unusual coyness and some desperation, are reporting a lack of stock and turning away buyers.’
    • ‘His coyness irritates me further.’
    • ‘While the mayor may feign coyness, his friends have no hesitation in saying what he isn't "at liberty" to say.’
    • ‘There is no fear of such politically-correct coyness with Mr Strache.’
    • ‘But the coyness is a diversionary tactic: it masks the deep normative commitments that in fact saturate Smart's work.’
    • ‘Stewart gestured crossing his heart and sealing his lips and laughed heartily at his master's coyness.’
    • ‘There's no mistaking his evil intent, so the coyness of the first half of the film, which slowly hints at it, seems utterly unnecessary.’
    • ‘Despite his after-the-event coyness, we all know who he is singing about.’
    • ‘This Bach is not as reverently worshiped, it is adored with coyness, sparkle, and a twinkling eye.’
    • ‘So why the coyness about these advances in political freedom?’
    • ‘Am I utterly evil and cynical to think this coyness is the most clever way to raise investor interest?’
    • ‘Stage fright masks itself as a domineering style, or as coyness, egoism, or pride.’
    • ‘He loved gossip, had a wicked salacious eye, a sly coyness, and he actually snickered all the time, delicious and conspiratorial.’
    • ‘It is a classic example of the sort of nineteenth-century picture that can evoke admiration for its dazzling technique while inducing a vague nausea over its coyness and kitsch.’
    • ‘From its impenetrable title to the insular instrumental segues between the real songs, the man's second record risks coyness at every turn.’
    • ‘In an industry famed for its confidence and self-belief, there's no room for coyness or self-depreciation.’
    • ‘Adults, who were shy as toddlers, had stronger brain activity in a part of the brain associated with coyness.’
    • ‘The coyness about the price is, we presume, because the actual selling price will be dependent on the kinds of discount deals on offer.’