shiftier; shiftiest
: full of or ready with expedients : resourceful
: given to deception, evasion, or fraud : tricky
: capable of evasive movement : elusive
a shifty boxer
: indicative of a tricky nature
shifty eyes
shiftily adverb
shiftiness 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 Threat culminated the scoring with a 25-yard TD run with 5:54 remaining, leaving defenders grasping for air with a pair of shifty moves of his own. Rick Armstrong, Chicago Tribune, 28 Aug. 2023 According to receivers coach Darrell Wyatt, Flowers is more shifty, but O’Keefe is faster in a straight line. Trevor Hass,, 31 Aug. 2023 Soon they’re joined by Owen Wilson as a shifty priest, Danny DeVito as a cranky professor and Tiffany Haddish as an amusingly mountebank-ish medium, all of them enlisted (and in some cases forced) to help figure out why this particular haunting feels more like an infestation. Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, 25 July 2023 The rookie running back made the most of an extended look during the second half of the Cowboys’ preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars, finding the end zone after showing off some shifty moves in the open field. Sportsday Staff, Dallas News, 12 Aug. 2023 Benny Safdie makes a memorably sweaty and argumentative Edward Teller, an early proponent of the hydrogen bomb who has his own shifty role to play in Oppenheimer’s postwar tribulations. Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, 19 July 2023 Branch finished with eight catches, flashing his shifty speed and his surprising strength. Ryan Kartje, Los Angeles Times, 16 Apr. 2023 Banks offers the size (6-2, 205 pounds) to jockey with bigger receivers and the fluidity to stick close to shiftier ones. 24. Victoria Hernandez, USA TODAY, 4 Mar. 2023 Yet his struggles to change direction and transition at the top of routes leave him vulnerable against shiftier receivers. Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz, USA TODAY, 5 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'shifty.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1570, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of shifty was circa 1570

Cite this Entry

“Shifty.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


shiftier; shiftiest
: not worthy of trust : tricky
: indicating a tricky character
shifty eyes
shiftily adverb
shiftiness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on shifty

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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