1. Shy, self-conscious, and awkward in the presence of others: "I never laughed, being bashful. / Lowering my head, I looked at the wall" (Ezra Pound).
2. Characterized by, showing, or resulting from shyness, self-consciousness, or awkwardness: "He had polite bashful manners and a low grownup voice" (John Dos Passos).
[From obsolete bash, to abash, be abashed (from Middle English basshen, variant of abaishen, abasshen; see ABASH) + -FUL.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.