\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from shifty

shiftily \ ˈshif-​tə-​lē How to pronounce shifty (audio) \ adverb
shiftiness \ ˈshif-​tē-​nəs How to pronounce shifty (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 Elijah Moore, a small, shifty speedster, as options. cleveland, "Daniel Jeremiah: Jadeveon Clowney’s signing by the Browns ‘isn’t going to to stop me from taking an edge-rusher’," 21 Apr. 2021 Shanahan clearly has an affinity for shifty receivers who can do damage after the catch and out of the backfield, the 49ers having met with another receiver of that ilk in Purdue's Rondale Moore (h/t Niners Wire). Nicholas Mcgee, Forbes, "49ers Could Add Another Dimension To Offense With Aggressive Move For Kadarius Toney," 10 Apr. 2021 Carter is a shifty, compact (5-9, 190) back who possesses good vision, and has the lateral speed to deliver big runs. Omar Kelly,, "Miami Dolphins’ NFL draft options: Tailbacks," 6 Apr. 2021 The shifty 5-11 guard found success darting around high screens set by teammates Charli Collier and Audrey Warren, taking advantage of South Carolina’s momentary confusion to attack and finish. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, "Texas women's season ends with loss to South Carolina in Elite Eight," 30 Mar. 2021 Known for showing up at homicide scenes in the dead of night dressed in his trademark fedora, Sanders had a way of coaxing information from all varieties of reluctant, dubious and shifty characters. Kevin Fagan,, "Earl Sanders, first Black San Francisco police chief, dies at 83," 11 Jan. 2021 Brown said Jones is creative and shifty in space, which presents another element for the Cardinals to defend. Emmanuel Morgan Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Rams’ running back by committee down to Malcolm Brown with playoff berth on the line," 29 Dec. 2020 Earle made a couple of shifty moves with his feet and ripped off a 74-yard touchdown reception. Sean Collins, Dallas News, "In a matter of months, Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi went from a mystery to his Aledo teammates to winning a title," 15 Jan. 2021 But the Seahawks have star receiver DK Metcalf, who is a terror in the open field, and shifty Tyler Lockett. Lorenzo Reyes, USA TODAY, "Here are tweaks Seahawks, Ravens and 2 other NFL playoff contenders should consider," 12 Dec. 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of shifty

circa 1570, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about shifty

Time Traveler for shifty

Time Traveler

The first known use of shifty was circa 1570

See more words from the same year

Statistics for shifty

Last Updated

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Shifty.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for shifty



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

More from Merriam-Webster on shifty

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!