\ˈshif-tē \
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 \ adverb
shiftiness \ˈshif-tē-nəs \ 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

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 Menard is a 5-foot-11, 180-pounder with good speed and shifty hips. Chris Hays,, "UCF lands 3 commits in 3 days," 19 June 2018 And though his shooting woes were somewhat overblown, Lonzo emerged as a surprising plus defender, thanks to shifty instincts and long arms. Chris Gayomali, GQ, "The Upside of the Lakers," 2 July 2018 After grabbing the slick and shifty Denisenko with the No. Craig Davis,, "Panthers emphasize offense in NHL draft, nab forwards with top four of six picks," 23 June 2018 Douglas acknowledged that smaller, shiftier players are more likely choices there. Les Bowen,, "Eagles' Rasul Douglas feels he has improved, but so has team's cornerback competition," 8 June 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

16 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shifty

The first known use of shifty was circa 1570

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More Definitions for shifty



English Language Learners Definition of shifty

: having an appearance or way of behaving that seems dishonest

: difficult to catch : able to move and change directions quickly


\ˈshif-tē \
shiftier; shiftiest

Kids Definition of shifty

: not worthy of trust : causing suspicion a shifty character

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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 state of commotion or excitement

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