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Boldness is the opposite of shyness. To be bold implies a willingness to get things done despite risks.[1]

For example, in the context of sociability, a bold person may be willing to risk shame or rejection in social situations, or to bend rules of etiquette or politeness. An excessively bold person could aggressively ask for money, or persistently push someone to fulfill a request.

The word "bold" may also be used as a synonym of "impudent"; for example, a child may be punished for being "bold" by acting disrespectfully toward an adult or by misbehaving.

Boldness may be contrasted with courage in that the latter implies having fear but confronting it.


In behavioral ecology, the shy⟷bold continuum is studied as it exists in humans and certain other species. Shyness and boldness represent "a propensity to take risks". Bold individuals tend to become dominant, revealing a correlation between boldness and social dominance.[2]

See also[edit]

  • Assertiveness – Capacity of being self-assured without being aggressive to defend a point of view
  • Chutzpah – Quality of audacity, of Yiddish origin into English
  • Courage – Ability to deal with fear
  • Disinhibition – Lack of restraint
  • Parrhesia – In rhetoric, the obligation to speak candidly
  • Psychopathy – Mental health disorder
  • Shyness – Feeling of apprehension, discomfort or awkwardness in the presence of other people
  • Sisu – Finnish concept


  1. ^
    • Aquinas, Thomas (1485). "Question XXVII: Of Daring". Summa Theologica. Vol. II.2.
    • Aquinas, Thomas (2005). The Cardinal Virtues. Translated by Regan, Richard J. p. 116. Is boldness a sin? Boldness is an emotion. But emotion sometimes is moderated by reason and sometimes lacks the measure of reason, whether by excess or deficiency, and emotion is sinful in this respect.
  2. ^ Sloan Wilson, David; Clark, Anne B.; Coleman, Kristine; Dearstyne, Ted (1994-11-01). "Shyness and boldness in humans and other animals". Trends in Ecology & Evolution. 9 (11): 442–446. doi:10.1016/0169-5347(94)90134-1. ISSN 0169-5347. PMID 21236920.