shy bairns get nowt



Hermann von Kaulbach, Die Schüchterne (The Shy One, 19th–20th century)

Alternative formsEdit



Literally “shy children get nothing”, a reference to the shyness of children when making requests.


shy bairns get nowt

  1. (Geordie) If you're too shy, or don't ask, you will not get what you want.
    A' forgot te ask 'er fo' me money back!
    Wye, shy bairns get nowt.

Usage notesEdit

The proverb is used widely in the North East of England, United Kingdom, to encourage children to speak up and not to be too shy. However, it may also be used to imply that an adult is too shy or unassertive.