The Meaning of Timid: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of timid? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the term timid, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word timid mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language as well as other dictionaries like American Heritage and Collins English Dictionary, the word timid is an adjective that describes someone who lacks courage, self-confidence, boldness, or determination. This can be used to describe people, animals, policies, and more. The pronunciation of timid is 

Many different languages also contain words that mean timid. You may notice that many of these words look similar to the word timid. These are called cognates, which are words that look, sound, and mean similar things across different languages. These are often formed when two words or languages share a common origin or ancestral language, such as Latin or Greek. This list of translations for the word timid is provided by Word Sense

  •  Serbo-Croatian: snebivljiv‎
  •  Japanese: 憶病‎ (おくびょう, okubyō)
  •  Dutch: schuchter‎, bedeesd‎, schroomvallig‎, timide‎
  •  Portuguese: tímido‎
  •  Belarusian: бая́зны‎ (masc.)
  •  Ido: timida‎
  •  Hungarian: félénk‎
  •  Latvian: bikls‎, kautrīgs‎
  •  Khmer: ត្រុកៗ‎ (trok-trok), អៀន‎ (ien), ទុយមុយ‎ (tuy muy), ប្រុនៗ‎ (pron-pron), មុយៗ‎ (muy-muy)
  •  Scottish Gaelic: diùid‎, gealtach‎, sgàthach‎
  •  Manx: faitagh‎
  •  Arabic: جَبَان‎
  •  Italian: timido‎, pavido‎, impaurito‎
  •  Latin: meticulosus‎, timidus‎, pavidus‎
  •  Catalan: tímid‎
  •  Estonian: pelglik‎
  •  Esperanto: timema‎
  •  German: furchtsam‎, zaghaft‎, zögerlich‎, schüchtern‎, befangen‎, ängstlich‎, kopfscheu‎, kleinmütig‎, verhuscht‎, verzagt‎, zag‎, timide‎, timid‎, scheu‎
  •  Swedish: blyg‎, timid‎
  •  Russian: ро́бкий‎, засте́нчивый‎, боязли́вый‎
  •  French: timide‎, craintif‎ (masc.), craintive‎ (fem.)
  •  Czech: bojácný‎ (masc.), nesmělý‎ (masc.)
  •  Korean: 겁많은‎ (keopmaneun)
  •  Finnish: säikky‎, pelokas‎, ujo‎, arka‎
  •  Albanian: ndrojtur‎
  •  Greek: αθάρρευτος‎
  •  Danish: frygtsom‎
  •  Spanish: tímido‎
  •  Maori: tikumu‎, kōpī‎, kōpīpī‎, kōpipiri‎, whakakumu‎
  •  Mandarin: 膽小‎, 胆小‎ (dǎnxiǎo), 膽怯‎, 胆怯‎ (dǎnqiè), 羞怯‎ (xiūqiè), 怯懦‎ (qiènuò)

How can the word timid be used in a sentence?

The word timid can be used in many different ways in the English language. Using words in a sentence is a great way to learn their definition, as are making flashcards or quizzes for yourself. Below are many examples of timid.

I decided to invite the timid man next door, John, over for a cup of coffee. His shyness and lack of bravery around meeting strangers was overcome the minute he stepped in the doorway.

The young girl, Isabella, was a timid person. She lacked self-assurance and had a cowardly fear of almost everyone, but her sensitive, faint heart ceased to exist the minute we decided to go whitewater rafting.

The student took a timid approach to asking his teacher for a regrade. He was already an unsure young man, and his teacher spoke with a frightening conviction on such matters.

The group of human beings had a lack of self-confidence, and attended a support group to improve their apprehension, temperament, and timid behavior.

The siblings could not have been more different – the little boy was a timid guy from an early age. What he had in obedience, he also had in lack of confidence. The sister was a fair lady who took a confident stance on everything. She had a strong spine and an attitude to match.

Tam the puppy went through a timid phrase where he would only eat from his bowl with nobody looking, but the generous souls at the shelter gave him some present comforts. He even licked Leo’s hand!

The extraordinary man had a brilliant mind but a retiring nature. When the fifth edition of his book came out, he was too scared to answer the congratulatory phone calls from Random House and Harpercollins Publishers.

The shy young Girl Scout gave a timid knock on the front door, but the modest person who answered helped her feel confident and sell her cookies with ease. 

What is the origin of the word timid?

According to Etymonline, the word timid has been used since the 1540s (16c)c and comes directly from the French timide, a 16th century word meaning easily frightened or shy. This comes from the Latin timidus meaning fearful. This comes from the word timere/timēre, which is of uncertain origin. One can add different suffixes like ly, ness, and ty to create the related words timidly (adv.), timidness (n.) and timidity (n.).

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word timid?

There are many different words that one can use in place of the word timid. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. Synonyms are useful to know if you are trying to grow your vocabulary as well as if you are trying to avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms for the word timid is provided by Thesaurus

  •  daunted
  •  feeble
  •  cowed
  •  spiritless
  •  unnerved
  •  modest
  •  bullied
  •  spineless
  •  intimidated
  •  vacillating
  •  humble
  •  afraid
  •  fainthearted
  •  wavering
  •  unassured
  •  submissive
  •  gentle
  •  cowering
  •  nervous
  •  coy
  •  irresolute
  •  unassertive
  •  cowardly
  •  diffident
  •  having cold feet
  •  ambivalent
  •  soft
  •  capricious
  •  badgered
  •  shrinking
  •  weak
  •  shaky
  •  shy
  •  frightened
  •  apprehensive
  •  demure
  •  trembling
  •  bashful
  •  timorous
  •  retiring
  •  pusillanimous
  •  browbeaten
  •  Milquetoast
  •  fearful
  •  yellow
  •  mousy

There are also many different words that mean the opposite of the word timid. These opposite words are called antonyms. Antonyms are also useful to know if you are trying to improve your vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word timid is also provided by Thesaurus

  •  chivalrous
  •  unfearful
  •  courageous
  •  defiant
  •  adventurous
  •  gallant
  •  stout
  •  doughty
  •  nervy
  •  undaunted
  •  venturesome
  •  stouthearted
  •  hardy
  •  strong
  •  unafraid
  •  chin-up
  •  brave
  •  herolike
  •  daring
  •  lionhearted
  •  militant
  •  indomitable
  •  foolhardy
  •  dashing
  •  plucky
  •  undismayed
  •  dauntless
  •  heroic
  •  undauntable
  •  unabashed
  •  bold
  •  spunky
  •  imprudent
  •  forward
  •  stalwart
  •  reckless
  •  confident
  •  audacious
  •  resolute
  •  game
  •  valiant
  •  valorous
  •  intrepid
  •  unblenching
  •  spirited
  •  gritty
  •  firm
  •  gutsy
  •  fearless

Overall, the word timid means quiet or shy. A person who is timid lacks confidence and is usually very reserved.


  1. timid: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  2. BRAVE Synonyms: 95 Synonyms & Antonyms for BRAVE | Thesaurus 
  3. TIMID Synonyms: 61 Synonyms & Antonyms for TIMID | Thesaurus 
  4. timid | Origin and meaning of timid | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  5. Timid | Definition of Timid | Merriam-Webster