How to Say Shy in German

by Expath Language School

Everyone starts out feeling like this when they're learning German, but with some time you can kiss your shy time goodbye.


The German word for “shy”, the feeling of nervousness around other people, is schüchtern (sounds like ‘shishtun’). Both the English and German words are related, and come from a word meaning “afraid”. The German word is also related to scheuchen (pronounced like ‘shoyshn’), which still means “to scare away”.


Er traut sich nicht mit ihr zu reden. Er ist so schüchtern. He doesn’t dare to speak with her. He is so shy.

The word scheu is used for animals that are afraid of humans, bashful, or easily startled (for example, the blinders/blinkers on a horse are called Scheuklappen).

The word eingeschüchtert means “intimidated”.

The German word for “inhibitions” is Hemmungen, and “self-conscious” (or “hampered”) is gehemmt.

Sie hat keine Hemmungen vor so vielen Menschen zu sprechen. She has no inhibitions to speak in front of so many people.

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