Searching for the right adjective to describe someone. She a mix of shy and deliberately obtuse in a slightly flirtatious way. Very calculated. Is purposely vague for the sake of trying to drum up interest. Not in a negative-connotation but more so in an friendly annoying way. Imagine someone coming to you to let you know they have terribly bad news with a smile on their face and then when you inquire about it - rather than tell you they change the topic to something totally different with the hopes that you continue to press for more information.

"Obtuse" seemed too unintentional and not calculated, "disingenuous" - was my closest fit but seemed too cold, "coy" - too playful... can't quite put my finger on it.

EX: Don't take her constant vagueness too personally, she's just being (insert adj).

EX: She is so ( ). Every time I try to peel back the layers on her we end up on a whole new tangent.

  • Sounds to me like you might want 'coquettish', but please be aware that I had to re-tag your question as a "single-word-request" because that's what you're looking for (a single word with a particular meaning" and we have specific rules about what details you need to provide for that sort of question. If you hover over the new tag, you should be able to see what we'd like to have in a s-w-r question and then you can click the 'edit' link (below the question itself) to add the necessary bits. Thanks, and welcome!
    – Hellion
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 0:23
  • Thanks! I edited original post. Appreciate the feedback!
    – glen
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 0:44
  • Why does it have to be one word? Is this for a poem where you have to fit the meter in just the right way?
    – Mitch
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 0:48
  • recalcitrant, evasive, cagey. Tho I'd suspect that she just thinks she has to have an excuse to start a conversation and/or overthinks the interdiction.
    – Giu Piete
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 1:01
  • @Mitch thanks! Doesn't need to be just one word ( this is actually my first question on here so still learning the rules etc) but in short, more than one word is okay!
    – glen
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 1:07

5 Answers 5


Consider sly. It has connotations of being underhanded and playful.

  1. Having or showing a cunning and deceitful nature.
    ‘a sly, manipulative woman’
    cunning, crafty, clever, wily, artful, guileful, tricky, conniving, scheming, devious, designing, deceitful, duplicitous, dishonest, disingenuous, underhand, sneaky, untrustworthy

    1.1 Showing in an insinuating way that one has some secret knowledge that may be harmful or embarrassing.
    ‘he gave a sly grin’
    roguish, mischievous, impish, puckish, playful, teasing, naughty, wicked, waggish

    1.2 (of an action) surreptitious.
    ‘a sly sip of water’
    surreptitious, furtive, stealthy, covert, secret

Oxford Living Dictionaries


Consider the words below:

Coquette /kɒˈkɛt/ - a flirtatious woman

Minx - an impudent, cunning, or boldly flirtatious girl or young woman


  • The little minx knew exactly what she was doing and she actually enjoyed it. She sang to the bartender, who smiled widely, not daring to tell the minx to get off his counter.
  • I don't know. I thought you were more of a coquette... not so ladylike. She would flirt with every man in the room and play the cold-hearted coquette in order to make him jealous and make his move.

Source: OED

If you are looking for an adjective, "coquettish" might work:

She greeted him with a coquettish smile. Don't take her constant vagueness too personally, she's just being coquettish.

  • You need citations for your quotes otherwise it is plagiarism.
    – Laurel
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 0:41
  • @Laurel you got it
    – Enguroo
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 0:44

Demure can function this way. It can mean actually modest, or affectedly modest. And the ambiguity can be handy.

2 : affectedly modest, reserved, or serious : COY



She plays games.

to play games (with one): To deliberately attempt to evade, deceive, or misinform one (about something) in order to manipulate them or achieve some desired outcome. Quit playing games, Karen—I know that you're involved in this deal! The serial killer is playing games with the police, leaving false clues everywhere to muddy the investigation.


Ditzy , dizzy , and bubbly are sometimes used in this sense. Often a female, often blonde, but context has to make it clear that they are not just a dumb blonde, they are putting it on.

Every time I try to peel back the layers on her we end up on a whole new tangent.

Geometrically speaking, this is a very confusing metaphor! Anyway, here you seem to be thinking of not as dumb as she looks or perhaps still waters run deep.

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