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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 family and annoyed other kids at her school.

Quick Quiz:

Because she was painfully shy, Paula couldn't
  1. help her mother
  2. ride her bicycle
  3. talk to strangers

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