[ shift-lis ]
See synonyms for: shiftlessshiftlessness on

  1. lacking in resourcefulness; inefficient; lazy.

  2. lacking in incentive, ambition, or aspiration.

Origin of shiftless

First recorded in 1555–65; shift + -less

Other words for shiftless

Other words from shiftless

  • shift·less·ly, adverb
  • shift·less·ness, noun

Words Nearby shiftless Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use shiftless in a sentence

  • There was hardly to be found in all Southern Tennessee a more contented, shiftless, ill-bestead family than theirs.

    Ramona | Helen Hunt Jackson
  • Verena was a poor old widow, doddering and shiftless: Charity suspected that she came for her keep.

    Summer | Edith Wharton
  • All went well till lazy and shiftless immigrants arrived to enjoy the paradise also.

    The Complete Club Book for Women | Caroline French Benton
  • Yet he did not retreat from his moral and intellectual standards, or lose the respect of that shiftless community.

  • Those who did so were usually the land speculators and people of weak, irresolute, or shiftless character.

    The Old Northwest | Frederic Austin Ogg

British Dictionary definitions for shiftless


/ (ˈʃɪftlɪs) /

  1. lacking in ambition or initiative

Derived forms of shiftless

  • shiftlessly, adverb
  • shiftlessness, noun

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