fight shy of

Idioms & Phrases

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]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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