\ 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

The player, however, who stood out most for the Bulls was shifty slot back Nathaniel Noel, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound playmaker who ran circles around opposing teams. Chris Hays,, "Miami Northwestern wins UCF 7 on 7 tournament," 3 June 2019 Swain is cuddly and cute, and has swooningly palpable chemistry with a handsome, shifty love interest played by Dyllon Burnside. Richard Lawson, HWD, "Pose Is Bold, Necessary Melodrama," 30 May 2018 There’s something shifty about the newcomer, Victor Shubin, what with his ashy skin and creepy way of looking at Jake’s mom, who never remarried after her husband, the boy’s father, disappeared during World War II. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: The Travails and Triumphs of Derring-Do," 22 Feb. 2019 Set in the 1960s and '70s, Hugh Grant is devilishly twisted as Jeremy Thorpe, the Liberal Party's leader in Parliament, who tries to cover up his secret affair with a shifty, obsessive young man named Norman Josiffe (Ben Whishaw). Hank Stuever,, "'Sharp Objects,' 'Yellowstone' and other new shows worth a look this summer," 14 June 2018 History is littered with small, shifty receivers who never caught a pass in pro football. Stephen Holder, Indianapolis Star, "Colts' new offensive coordinator gets T.Y. Hilton crash course," 13 June 2018 Abdullah is a shifty runner with quickness who has the ability to make guys miss. Jamie Samuelsen, Detroit Free Press, "How will Detroit Lions satisfy stable of running backs?," 23 May 2018 Each team has a big feature receiver, a speedy outside receiver and a shifty slot man, plus more mismatches in pass-catching tight ends. Jourdan Rodrigue, charlotteobserver, "Most exciting position battle at Panthers' 2018 training camp fueled by competition," 11 July 2018 In the human world, Sargent’s father seems oddly complacent about a shifty art restorer who is making eccentric demands. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: Meeting the People in the Paintings," 5 July 2018

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

10 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for shifty

The first known use of shifty was circa 1570

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shifty

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


a tendency to relapse

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