Since, I am constantly redirected to this site for my many, many questions and I am an aspiring author, I shall make my first post a query.

When using the idiom "just shy of (something)" would it be incorrect to simplify or imply the idiom with hyphenation? And if so, why?

(The rest was just shy of an hour and revitalized him.) vs. (The hour-shy rest revitalized him.)

Thank you for your wisdom and time. ~e

  • First one is clearer to understand. I don't see why you couldn't use the second one.
    – Zebrafish
    Mar 23, 2018 at 0:34
  • The second one doesn't work. The closest might be "...the just-shy-of-an-hour rest revitalised him."
    – Dan
    Mar 23, 2018 at 0:36
  • I'd be tempted to use "-ish".
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 22, 2018 at 2:05

1 Answer 1


‘Just shy of an hour’ is the correct expression, as in just short of an hour, just before.

Hour-shy I’ve never seen used before and (but I have no proper arguments or references) sounds like ‘work-shy’, where shy indicates a dislike for something.

In terms of aesthetics, hour-shy reads ‘ugly’, feels like a hasty contraction that’s not fully linguistically correct.

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