shuf·​fle | \ ˈshə-fəl \
shuffled; shuffling\ ˈshə-​f(ə-​)liŋ \

Definition of shuffle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to mix in a mass confusedly : jumble
2 : to put or thrust aside or under cover shuffled the whole matter out of his mind
3a : to rearrange (playing cards, dominoes, tiles, etc.) to produce a random order
b : to move about, back and forth, or from one place to another : shift shuffle funds among various accounts
4a : to move by sliding along or back and forth without lifting shuffle one's feet
b : to perform (something, such as a dance) with a dragging, sliding step

intransitive verb

1 : to work into or out of trickily shuffled out of the difficulty
2 : to act or speak in a shifty or evasive manner
3a : to move or walk in a sliding dragging manner without lifting the feet
b : to dance in a lazy nonchalant manner with sliding and tapping motions of the feet
c : to execute in a perfunctory or clumsy manner
4 : to mix playing cards or counters by shuffling



Definition of shuffle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an evasion of the issue : equivocation
2a : an act of shuffling (as of cards)
b : a right or turn to shuffle it's your shuffle
c : a confusing jumble (as of papers or events) lost in the shuffle
3a : a dragging sliding movement specifically : a sliding or scraping step in dancing
b : a dance characterized by such a step
c(1) : a rhythm where each beat of the measure is played as a triplet with the first and second parts of the triplet tied and the third part accented
(2) : music played in a shuffle rhythm

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Other Words from shuffle


shuffler \ ˈshə-​f(ə-​)lər \ noun

Examples of shuffle in a Sentence


He shuffled across the floor. She stood there, shuffling her feet, waiting for the bus to arrive. She shuffled the papers on her desk. The manager shuffled the batting order. Whose turn is it to shuffle and deal?


We heard the shuffle of feet outside the door. He gave the cards a good shuffle and then dealt.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The app shows bids on a leaderboard, which shuffles in real time based on who is winning. Aditi Shrikant, Vox, "Airlines’ latest customer shakedown? Making you bid for a seat upgrade.," 14 Sep. 2018 Salemme, who headed the New England family of La Cosa Nostra, shuffles in and out of the courtroom, hunched over, only occasionally lifting his head to wave and wink at a reporter who has covered him for decades. Washington Post, "The last Mafioso? ‘Cadillac Frank’ trial shows mob’s decline," 17 June 2018 In the 11 months since then, Mr. Hackett has shuffled Ford’s executive ranks and outlined plans to introduce new sport-utility vehicles and electric cars. New York Times, "Ford Changed Leaders, Looking for a Lift. It’s Still Looking.," 24 Apr. 2018 Yola was determined to get his attention, slowly walking toward Kwame and playfully shuffling away when his gaze caught hers. Hannah Rodriguez, The Seattle Times, "New ape in town: Kwame makes rare alpha-male debut at Woodland Park Zoo," 9 Nov. 2018 James embraced Horford and Tatum after the buzzer, then the Cavaliers donned celebratory hats and T-shirts before shuffling off the court to receive the Eastern Conference championship trophy. Washington Post, "LeBron’s 35 help Cavs beat Celtics 87-79, reach NBA Finals," 28 May 2018 Our children belong as much as anyone's and should not be shuffled around like surplus furniture. Bethany Barnes,, "Portland Commissioner Eudaly blasts Portland Public Schools for ousting special education program," 5 Mar. 2018 These holes are just large enough that only certain sized salts can shuffle through. William Herkewitz, Popular Mechanics, "Marvelous Mini Generator Draws Energy From Saltwater," 13 July 2016 The teens there spend their days shuffling between school classes, arts and crafts, and recreation time on soccer fields. Alicia A. Caldwell, WSJ, "Immigrant Children Are Staying Longer in Government Custody," 19 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The tensions also led to a shuffle of Germany’s intelligence service last autumn. Andrea Thomas, WSJ, "German Man Drives Car Into Crowd in Apparent Xenophobic Attack," 1 Jan. 2019 The days pass, the earth shifts, the weather cools, the houseless shuffle between one cold bench and the next. Sadia Hassan, Longreads, "Silence is a Lonely Country: A Prayer in Twelve Parts," 13 July 2018 Others caused a quiet shuffle of one or two pairs of feet. Theresa Vargas, Washington Post, "‘I worry if I get angry at work, I will confirm a stereotype’ — and other statements that divide us," 7 July 2018 The year’s second Margaret Atwood adaptation seemed to get lost in the peak TV shuffle, which sees a new show drop on Netflix every week. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "The 20 Best TV Shows Of 2017," 29 Dec. 2017 The project has shut down portions of roads and established narrow pedestrian patterns through which Rowe and Baylock shuffle, looking up and around. Mike Anthony,, "Mike Anthony: Dee Rowe And Andy Baylock Are UConn's Chatty Treasures," 6 June 2018 The shelter system can feel like a constant shuffle, and shelter residents often lash out at staff, share their frustrations with friends and family or quietly stew. New York Times, "Homeless Woman’s Court Fight Inspires 2 City Council Bills," 10 May 2018 Incorporate drills such as running forward, side shuffles, vertical leaps with high fives to a Burpee or squat thrust. Angela Peterson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "How about a little togetherness? Try sweating for the wedding with couples exercises," 9 May 2018 When Claire moved out of our apartment and into her new boyfriend’s, the red coat somehow got lost in the shuffle. Sara Petersen, Vox, "Why do we stop giving meaningful gifts to our friends?," 3 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shuffle.' 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 shuffle


1570, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1628, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for shuffle


perhaps irregular from shove entry 1

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Statistics for shuffle

Last Updated

13 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shuffle

The first known use of shuffle was in 1570

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More Definitions for shuffle



English Language Learners Definition of shuffle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to slide your feet along the ground or back and forth without lifting them completely

: to move things or people into a different order or into different positions

: to mix (playing cards) before playing a game so that no one knows what order they are in



English Language Learners Definition of shuffle (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act of moving by sliding your feet without lifting them off the ground

: the act of mixing the order of playing cards : the act of shuffling cards


shuf·​fle | \ ˈshə-fəl \
shuffled; shuffling

Kids Definition of shuffle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to slide back and forth without lifting He shuffled his feet.
2 : to walk or move by sliding or dragging the feet I just shuffled along.
3 : to mix up the order of (as playing cards)
4 : to push or move about or from place to place She shuffled the papers on her desk.



Kids Definition of shuffle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a sliding or dragging walk
2 : an act of mixing up or moving so as to change the order or position
3 : a confusing jumble The idea was lost in the shuffle.

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More from Merriam-Webster on shuffle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shuffle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shuffle

Spanish Central: Translation of shuffle

Nglish: Translation of shuffle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shuffle for Arabic Speakers

Comments on shuffle

What made you want to look up shuffle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to gather or build up little by little

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