shy

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a few bricks shy of a load

A pejorative phrase meaning not very intelligent or of questionable mental capacity. It can appear in many different forms and variations (for example: a few sandwiches short of a picnic, a few cards shy of a full deck, etc.). He says he's going to start a business selling bees as pets—I think he may be a few bricks shy of a load.
See also: brick, few, load, of, shy

gun-shy

1. Frightened of using a gun or by the sound of one firing. My other three sons all really love to hunt, but Tommy's a little bit gun-shy.
2. Hesitant or wary of something or some action, especially after having previously suffered a negative experience of such. I've been rather gun-shy about driving ever since I got into that car accident last year.

be one card shy of a (full) deck

To be not very intelligent or of questionable mental capacity. This expression can appear in many different forms and variations (e.g., "a few sandwiches short of a picnic," "one brick short of a load.," etc.). He says he's going to start a business selling bees as pets—I think he may be one card shy of a full deck. The new manager is nice enough, but he's one card shy of a deck, if you ask me.
See also: card, deck, of, one, shy

one card shy of a (full) deck

A pejorative phrase meaning not very intelligent or of questionable mental capacity. This expression can appear in many different forms and variations (e.g., "a few sandwiches short of a picnic," "one brick short of a load.," etc.). He says he's going to start a business selling bees as pets—I think he may be one card shy of a full deck. The new manager is nice enough, but he's one card shy of a deck, if you ask me.
See also: card, deck, of, one, shy

a sandwich shy of a picnic

A pejorative phrase meaning not very intelligent or of questionable mental capacity. This expression can appear in many different forms and variations (e.g., several bricks short of a load," "one card shy of a full deck," etc.). He says he's going to start a business selling bees as pets—I think he may be a sandwich shy of a picnic. The new manager is nice enough, but he's a sandwich shy of a picnic, if you ask me.
See also: of, picnic, sandwich, shy

one sandwich shy of a picnic

A pejorative phrase meaning not very intelligent or of questionable mental capacity. This expression can appear in many different forms and variations (e.g., several bricks short of a load," "one card shy of a full deck," etc.). He says he's going to start a business selling bees as pets—I think he may be one sandwich shy of a picnic. The new manager is nice enough, but he's one sandwich shy of a picnic, if you ask me.
See also: of, one, picnic, sandwich, shy

few bricks short of a load

 and few cards shy of a full deck; few cards short of a deck; not playing with a full deck; two bricks shy of a load
Fig. lacking in intellectual ability. (Many other variants.) Tom: Joe thinks he can build a car out of old milk jugs. Mary: I think Joe's a few bricks short of a load. Ever since she fell and hit her head, Jane's been a few bricks short of a load, if you know what I'm saying. Bob's nice, but he's not playing with a full deck. You twit! You're two bricks shy of a load.
See also: brick, few, load, of, short

Once bitten, twice shy.

Prov. When something or someone has hurt you once, you tend to avoid that thing or person. Jill: Let's go ride the roller coaster. Jane: No, thanks. I got really sick on one of those once—once bitten, twice shy. I once sent in money for something I saw advertised in the back of a magazine, but the merchandise was of such poor quality I was sorry I'd bought it. I'll never buy anything that way again; once bitten, twice shy.
See also: once, shy, twice

one brick shy of a load

Inf. stupid; dense. Joyce has done some stupid things. Sometimes I think she is one brick shy of a load. Ted is one brick shy of a load. He can't seem to do what he is told without messing up.
See also: brick, load, of, one, shy

shy away (from someone or something)

to avoid someone or something. The dog shies away from John since he kicked it. I can understand why the dog would shy away.
See also: away, shy

three bricks shy of a load

stupid; dense; shortchanged on intelligence. I would never say she was dense. Just three bricks shy of a load. Why do you act like you're three bricks shy of a load?
See also: brick, load, of, shy, three

shy away from somebody

to avoid someone She shied away from reporters during her brief visit to this country.
See also: away, shy

shy away from something/doing something

to avoid something I tend to shy away from big guitar solos on records. At first, some companies shied away from selling merchandise on the Internet, but not for long.
See also: away, shy

shy of something

having less of something than is needed or expected The bill was four votes shy of a majority. He was a large man, just shy of six feet tall.
Related vocabulary: short of something
See also: of, shy

fight shy of something/doing something

to try to avoid something He fought shy of entering his poems in the competition, although everyone said he should. Ellen fights shy of parties - she hates crowds.
See also: fight, of, shy

Once bitten, twice shy.

something that you say which means when you have had an unpleasant experience you are much more careful to avoid similar experiences in the future After he left her she refused to go out with anyone else for a long time - once bitten, twice shy, I suppose.
See also: once, shy, twice

bricks shy of a load

Mentally impaired, either unintelligent or merely eccentric. For example, He may be handsome but he's not too bright-a few bricks shy of a load. This term, transferring a light load to lightweight mental capacity, is usually preceded by either a few or a specific number such as two . [Slang; 1960s]
See also: brick, load, of, shy

fight shy of

Avoid meeting or confronting someone, as in "I have ... had to fight shy of invitations that would exhaust time and spirits" (Washington Irving, Life and Letters, 1821). This usage may allude to a military reluctance to meet or engage with the enemy. [Late 1700s]
See also: fight, of, shy

once bitten, twice shy

Once hurt, one is doubly cautious in the future, as in He was two days late last time, so she's not hiring him again-once bitten, twice shy. This seemingly old observation, presumably alluding to an animal biting someone, was first recorded in 1894.
See also: once, shy, twice

shy away from

Avoid, evade, as in He shied away from all questions concerning his private life. [Late 1700s]
See also: away, shy

shy away

v.
1. To retreat out of a sense of shyness: The deer poked its head out from the bushes and then shied away when it saw me.
2. To avoid doing something, especially out of caution or anxiety: The company shied away from giving raises this year.
See also: away, shy

one brick shy of a load

mod. stupid; dense. Joyce has done some stupid things. Sometimes I think she is one brick shy of a load.
See also: brick, load, of, one, shy

three bricks shy of a load

mod. stupid; dense; shortchanged on intelligence. I would never say she was dense. Just three bricks shy of a load.
See also: brick, load, of, shy, three

fight shy of

To avoid meeting or confronting.
See also: fight, of, shy
References in periodicals archive ?
Beatie is shown in boxer shorts, shyly bowing his head and cradling his stomach with both hands.
There are some who deliberately waste time, while some shyly reject reforms.
Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada shyly admitted Tuesday that he is eager to improve his English language skills by listening to tapes after making his first diplomatic trip to New York as foreign minister in late September.
When asked, Meghna smiled shyly and said: " We met a couple of times and became the best of friends.
SHYLY standing in front of a seated audience with a decanter of red wine, big-haired blonde Beth Rowley performed a string of soulful numbers that oozed class.
Over and over again, people shyly approach and let me know that I must keep saying this.
When you ask them they shift uneasily and look shyly at the ground, mumbling some stuff about introducing 'freshness' or 'individuality', 'breaking the mould'.
So if the clocks were refurbished and their hands set in motion again not only would they perpetuate our local culture but also wind back time for those Cardiffians who shyly met their future partners beneath them.
One pointe shoe is lovingly caressed by a romantically reclining Balanchine, with Tudor diffident in the background, Robbins cross-legged, smiling shyly to their right, and Todd Bolender jumping in a jaunty soubresaut to their left.
She looked up at me with those big eyes and shyly whimpered, "Would you like to buy some cookies?
Shyly, softly, they laid bare their childhoods in abject poverty.
Almost 13 years ago to the day, a young Prince Harry peered out from under a commander's helmet, smiling shyly aboard a Scimitar tank as he embarked on his first formal public engagement.
Almost 13 years ago to the day, a young Prince Harry peered out from under a commander's helmet, smiling shyly aboard a Scimitar tank in Army working fatigues as he embarked on his first formal public engagement.
Seated in a wheelchair, wearing a cap and gown, 102-year-old Florence Carnaggio smiled shyly after receiving her diploma from Principal Curtis Turner of Seton Keough High School in Baltimore.
This time, after she was made a Dame by the Prince of Wales, she shyly disclosed she was knicker-less again, adding: "Don't ask.