If you are a retiring person, you avoid being at the center of attention. You can often be found in the library and other quiet places, and if someone compliments you, you're likely to blush and change the subject.

If you call someone retiring, it isn't necessarily clear whether you mean it as a compliment or something closer to a put-down. Usually, the word is used to describe someone who is shy or modest to a fault. But it can also be used to suggest that someone isn't arrogant, which is usually a good thing. And, of course, retiring can also refer to someone who stepped down from their last job and doesn't intend to work anymore.

Definitions of retiring

adj of a person who has held and relinquished a position or office

“a retiring member of the board”
past, preceding
leaving a place or a position

adj not arrogant or presuming

“a shy retiring girl”
marked by simplicity; having a humble opinion of yourself

adj reluctant to draw attention to yourself

reticent, self-effacing
inclined to timidity or lack of self-confidence

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