\ 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 Viewers may then perceive them as uninterested, shifty, haughty, servile or guilty. Kate Murphy, New York Times, "Frequently Asked Questions and Advice," 11 Apr. 2020 Throughout his time in New England, Brady leaned on shifty slot receivers who could get open quickly, such as Julian Edelman, Wes Welker and Troy Brown. Michael Middlehurst-schwartz, USA TODAY, "Can Tampa Bay Buccaneers find Tom Brady's next right-hand man in NFL draft?," 3 Apr. 2020 The Hurricanes have a short bench and rely on three guards – McGusty, shifty point guard Chris Lykes and DJ Vasiljevic, one of the ACC’s best shooters – for the majority of their scoring. Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville basketball rolls early and holds on late in victory over Miami," 8 Jan. 2020 This isn’t impeachment, and Covid-19 isn’t shifty Schiff. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "'All about the President': Wall Street Journal rebukes Trump role in coronavirus task force briefings," 9 Apr. 2020 And its characters—from Steven Strait’s adorably broody Warren Peace to Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s shifty upperclassman Gwen Grayson—are as memorably sub-Hughesian as ever. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "What to watch on Disney+ while social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic," 28 Mar. 2020 Then word comes that Adrian has committed suicide, leaving Cecilia a small fortune administered by Adrian’s shifty, unctuous brother (Michael Dorman, giving good sleaze). Manohla Dargis, New York Times, "‘The Invisible Man’ Review: Gaslight Nation, Domestic Edition," 2 Mar. 2020 His elite length and 4.61 40-yard dash speed may make keeping up with shifty receivers difficult. Carter Karels, Indianapolis Star, "Ranking the 17 members of Notre Dame football's 2020 recruiting class," 6 Feb. 2020 Tate is the more shifty, elusive signal-caller who can extend plays with his scrambling ability while Gunnell is more of a pure pro-style pocket quarterback. Michelle Gardner, azcentral, "Territorial Cup: ASU uses three quarterbacks to get prepared for rival Arizona," 29 Nov. 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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Time Traveler for shifty

Time Traveler

The first known use of shifty was circa 1570

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Statistics for shifty

Last Updated

12 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Shifty.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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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

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