\ ˈshif-tē How to pronounce shifty (audio) \
shiftier; shiftiest

Definition of shifty

1 : full of or ready with expedients : resourceful
2a : given to deception, evasion, or fraud : tricky
b : capable of evasive movement : elusive a shifty boxer
3 : indicative of a tricky nature shifty eyes

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Other Words from shifty

shiftily \ ˈshif-​tə-​lē How to pronounce shiftily (audio) \ adverb
shiftiness \ ˈshif-​tē-​nəs How to pronounce shiftiness (audio) \ noun

Examples of shifty in a Sentence

shifty politicians making deals to channel federal funds into their districts shifty practices such as turning back the odometers on used cars
Recent Examples on the Web In 2013, Miller was flashing the electric skill of a special quarterback, but in 2019 Justin Fields is less shifty but just as dynamic, bigger and with a better arm. Doug Lesmerises, cleveland, "Ohio State beats Northwestern, highlights six years of evolution by the Buckeyes," 18 Oct. 2019 Gradually, though, Mr Trudeau has acquired a shifty reputation. The Economist, "To keep his job, Justin Trudeau must fight on two fronts," 26 Sep. 2019 The Texans' defense is preparing for Fournette after struggling to contain shifty New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara. Aaron Wilson, Houston Chronicle, "Texans face different challenge in Leonard Fournette," 12 Sep. 2019 On the sideline, teammates shook their head at a sight familiar in practice for the shifty young receiver. Michael Casagrande |, al, "The challenge of tackling Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle in space," 12 Sep. 2019 The receiver’s two big plays originated at inside slot, where shifty Keenan Allen likely would’ve worked, especially on fourth-and-7, if not for a first-half injury. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Philip Rivers, a year after finally beating Chiefs, resumes Super Bowl bid," 4 Sep. 2019 Dry, a small but shifty back with breakaway speed, had 38 yards on 12 carries but served a good compliment to the power-running style of Russell, who is 5-foot-10, 220 pounds. Tim Schwartz,, "Howard County football notebook: Russell, Dry filling big shoes at Glenelg; Hammond starts strong," 10 Sep. 2019 The team’s running back tandem of Shamar Garrett and James Coby is shifty, fast and dangerous. Darren Sabedra, The Mercury News, "Football: Takeaways from De La Salle’s loss to St. Thomas Aquinas," 24 Aug. 2019 Gordon, though not especially sudden or shifty, has a complete game. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Minus Gordon and Okung, Rivers still formidable as Chargers camp opens," 25 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shifty.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of shifty

circa 1570, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for shifty

Last Updated

11 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for shifty

The first known use of shifty was circa 1570

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More Definitions for shifty


How to pronounce shifty (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of shifty

: having an appearance or way of behaving that seems dishonest
US : difficult to catch : able to move and change directions quickly


\ ˈshif-tē How to pronounce shifty (audio) \
shiftier; shiftiest

Kids Definition of shifty

: not worthy of trust : causing suspicion a shifty character

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More from Merriam-Webster on shifty

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shifty

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shifty

Spanish Central: Translation of shifty

Nglish: Translation of shifty for Spanish Speakers

Comments on shifty

What made you want to look up shifty? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to engage in dissolute behavior

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