These adjectives mean not forward but marked by a retiring nature, reticence, or a reserve of manner. One who is shy draws back from others, either because of a withdrawn nature or out of timidity: “The poor man was shy and hated society” (George Bernard Shaw). Bashful suggests self-consciousness or awkwardness in the presence of others: “I never laughed, being bashful./Lowering my head, I looked at the wall” (Ezra Pound). Diffident implies lack of self-confidence: He was too diffident to express his opinion.Modest is associated with an unassertive nature and absence of vanity or pretension: Despite her fame she remained a modest, unassuming person.Coy usually implies feigned, often flirtatious shyness: “yielded with coy submission” (John Milton). Demure often denotes an affected shyness or modesty: Her assistant nodded in agreement, flashing a demure smile.
Keaton was a strange combination... sometimes shy, sometimes bold.
The supply of some of the most valuable, such as sable, silver and natural black fox, sea otter and ermine, which are all taken from animals of a more or less shy nature, does very gradually decrease with persistent hunting and the encroachment of man upon the districts where they live, but the climate of these vast regions is so cold and inhospitable that the probabilities of man ever permanently inhabiting them in numbers sufficient to scare away or exterminate the fur-bearing wild animals is unlikely.
This was no time to get shy on him.
Was he shy, or was he simply a casual type of person?