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painfully shy

collocation pattern: adverb + adjective

Meaning: extremely shy, or so shy that other people find it disturbing

For example:

  • Paula was painfully shy when she was in high school.

  • The fact that she was so painfully shy embarrassed her parents and annoyed the other kids.

Quick Quiz:

Because he was so painfully shy, Billy couldn't
  1. help his mother
  2. ride his bicycle
  3. talk to strangers

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