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[shuhf-uh l] /ˈʃʌf əl/
verb (used without object), shuffled, shuffling.
to walk without lifting the feet or with clumsy steps and a shambling gait.
to scrape the feet over the floor in dancing.
to move clumsily (usually followed by into):
to shuffle into one's clothes.
to act underhandedly or evasively with respect to a stated situation (often followed by in, into, or out of):
to shuffle out of one's responsibilities.
to intermix so as to change the relative positions of cards in a pack.
verb (used with object), shuffled, shuffling.
to move (one's feet) along the ground or floor without lifting them.
to perform (a dance) with such movements.
to move (an object or objects) this way and that.
to put, thrust, or bring trickily, evasively, or haphazardly (usually followed by in, into, out, etc.):
to shuffle one's way into favor.
to mix (cards in a pack) so as to change the relative positions.
to jumble together, mix, or interchange the positions of (objects).
a scraping movement; dragging gait.
an evasive trick; evasion.
an act or instance of shuffling.
  1. a shuffling of cards in a pack.
  2. the right or turn to shuffle preparatory to dealing:
    You win the shuffle.
a dance in which the feet are shuffled along the floor.
Verb phrases
shuffle off,
  1. to thrust aside; get rid of.
  2. to move away by, or as if by, shuffling:
    They shuffled off to school with little enthusiasm.
Origin of shuffle
1525-35; < Low German schuffeln to walk clumsily or with dragging feet, mix (cards); akin to shovel
Related forms
reshuffle, verb, reshuffled, reshuffling, noun
unshuffled, adjective
6. drag, scrape, scuff. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for shuffle
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And forthwith, as one who may not be resisted, he swept up the cards and began to shuffle.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • Whatever explanation of our sufferings and failures there may be we must not shuffle them off on God.

  • The cornet and bass-viol had put in an appearance, but the pianist had been lost in the shuffle.

    The Underdog F. Hopkinson Smith
  • He does not shuffle or prevaricate, dodge or skulk; but is honest, upright, and straightforward.

    Self-Help Samuel Smiles
  • Well, if this particular deal had failed, he must shuffle the cards and deal again.

    Jan and Her Job L. Allen Harker
British Dictionary definitions for shuffle


to walk or move (the feet) with a slow dragging motion
to change the position of (something), esp quickly or in order to deceive others
(transitive) to mix together in a careless manner: he shuffled the papers nervously
to mix up (cards in a pack) to change their order
(intransitive) to behave in an awkward, evasive, or underhand manner; equivocate
when intr, often foll by into or out of. to move or cause to move clumsily: he shuffled out of the door
(intransitive) to dance the shuffle
the act or an instance of shuffling
a dance or dance step with short dragging movements of the feet
Derived Forms
shuffler, noun
Word Origin
C16: probably from Low German schüffeln; see shove
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for shuffle

1530s, put together hastily," probably from Middle English shovelen "to move with dragging feet," itself probably a frequentative form of shoven (see shove (v.)). Or perhaps from Low German schuffeln "to walk clumsily, deal dishonestly."

Of playing cards, first recorded 1560s. Meaning "walk slowly without lifting the feet" is from 1570s. Meaning "push along gradually" is from 1560s. Meaning "move from one place to another" is from 1690s. Meaning "do a shuffle dance" is from 1818. Related: Shuffled; shuffling. Shuffle off "get rid of, dispose of" is from Shakespeare (1601).


1620s, "an evasion, trick;" 1640s, "a wavering or undecided course of behavior meant to deceive;" from shuffle (v.). Meaning "a slow, heavy, irregular manner of moving" is from 1847; that of "a dance in which the feet are shuffled" is from 1640s. Meaning "a change in the order of playing-cards" is from 1650s. Phrase lost in the shuffle is from 1930.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for shuffle



  1. To have a gang fight; rumble (1960s+ Street gang)
  2. To behave in the stereotypical obsequious way of a black person in ''traditional'' race relations; tom: A lot of brothers and sisters died. So are we just going to shuffle and jive? (1880+ Black)

Related Terms

double shuffle

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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