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shrinking violet

A negative term for a very shy person. After years of being seen as nothing more than a shrinking violet, Christine decided to overcome her fears and start talking to strangers.
See also: shrink, violet

shrinking violet

Fig. someone who is very shy and not assertive. I am not exactly a shrinking violet, but I don't have the guts to say what you said to her.
See also: shrink, violet

shrinking violet, a

An extremely shy person, as in She was a shrinking violet until she went away to college. This metaphoric idiom refers to the flower, but the precise allusion is unclear, since violets thrive under a variety of conditions and often are considered a garden weed. [Early 1900s]
See also: shrink

a shrinking violet

If you describe someone as a shrinking violet, you mean that they are very shy. Give him a tough assignment and he turns into a shrinking violet. None of the women he paints could be described as shrinking violets. Note: You can say that someone is no shrinking violet to mean that they are very self-confident. Amber is no shrinking violet. She is a brash colourful character. Note: In the past, violets were considered to be a symbol of modesty, because of their small size and the fact that the flowers remain hidden among the leaves until they open.
See also: shrink, violet

shrink back

To draw back instinctively, as in alarm; recoil: The dog shrank back in fear when I raised my hand.
See also: back, shrink

shrink from

1. To draw back instinctively from someone or something; recoil from someone or something: The cat shrank from my touch.
2. To show reluctance to engage in or do something; hesitate to perform something, especially out of fear: I will not shrink from my duty as captain to defend the ship. They will not shrink from prosecuting each of us if they catch us stealing.
See also: shrink


n. a psychoanalyst or psychotherapist. I dropped a bundle on a shrink, but it didn’t help me.

shrinking violet

A shy person. The violet flower gives the impression of shyness, growing as it does close to the protective ground and often beneath other plants, shrubs and trees. Compared to other larger foliage, violets do seem to look as though they are shrinking, growing smaller. As applied to shy people, the phrase first appeared in both America and Great Britain in the 1820s.
See also: shrink, violet
References in periodicals archive ?
Here comes the problem with an aging population and a shrinking labor force.
Thus, government policies to enhance overall productivity will help maintain living standards, despite a shrinking labor force.
High-capacity communications--from cable to dedicated communication lines to direct satellite links--are not only becoming widespread but competition among carriers is shrinking tariffs.
The number of tax software brands on the market is shrinking, leaving thousands of CPAs tax software orphans with fewer replacement products to choose from.
Our world is shrinking in the sense that pollution and waste are no longer local affairs; they affect us all.
In the early days of shrink labels, the available inks would change in the shrinking process and show up with dark stripes on the finished product.
The big males may be shrinking most because of their mating habits, suggests Brian Henen of California State University, Northridge.
The secret to the compound's shrinking is that one out of the four oxygens that surround a tungsten atom is unshared.
Based on the hit feature film of the same name, the popular TV show blows the shrinking concept wide open to include a myriad of experiments gone awry.
The route from film to finished, applied shrink sleeve entails a number of steps, from film production, printing, and tube forming to application and, finally shrinking.
What the analysis reveals is a shrinking in the maximum extent of ice -- a term that describes how far the ice pack reaches from the poles.
We are extremely pleased with the success we've had in shrinking our line widths," said Jose Arreola, Cypress vice president of research and development.
By shrinking the Thumb core to 15 percent of this optimum die size, we can give designers the other 85 percent of the chip to play with for I/O, communications, DSP, data security, cache memory or other peripherals.
On location adjacent to SEMICON/West, Angstromania 2 is an educational and entertaining experience of the world of semiconductor device manufacturing and the technical complexities and economic challenges brought about by shrinking device geometries and higher aspect ratios.