shift·​less | \ˈshif(t)-ləs \

Definition of shiftless 

1 : lacking in resourcefulness : inefficient

2 : lacking in ambition or incentive : lazy shiftless freeloaders

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Other Words from shiftless

shiftlessly adverb
shiftlessness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for shiftless


idle, indolent, lazy, slothful



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Examples of shiftless in a Sentence

shiftless spongers who never thought to do anything for themselves

Recent Examples on the Web

Or the shiftless pool man whose slide into despair seems to parallel the fires and mudslides that are chewing up the hills around him. Steve Marble,, "Joe Frank, who pushed the boundaries of radio storytelling, dies at 79," 24 Jan. 2018 This project has portrayed social housing as a repository for the idle and shiftless, meaning that the grievances of tenants, like those in Grenfell Tower, can be dismissed as grumbles of entitlement. Krista Stevens, Longreads, "Grenfell Tower: London, England’s ‘Katrina Moment’," 24 Aug. 2017

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

First Known Use of shiftless

1584, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for shiftless

shift (resourcefulness)

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Time Traveler for shiftless

The first known use of shiftless was in 1584

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More Definitions for shiftless



English Language Learners Definition of shiftless

: lacking ambition and energy


shift·​less | \ˈshift-ləs \

Kids Definition of shiftless

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More from Merriam-Webster on shiftless

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shiftless

Spanish Central: Translation of shiftless

Nglish: Translation of shiftless for Spanish Speakers

Comments on shiftless

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full of whispering sounds

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