See more synonyms for shiftless on

Origin of shiftless

First recorded in 1555–65; shift + -less
Related formsshift·less·ly, adverbshift·less·ness, noun

Synonyms for shiftless

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for shiftless

Contemporary Examples of shiftless

Historical Examples of shiftless

  • You're about the laziest and most shiftless man I ever came across.

  • Was she condemned to be altogether useless, shiftless, unprofitable?

    In a Little Town

    Rupert Hughes

  • Abner Dexter, on the other hand, was good-looking and shiftless.

  • But to have no time, no place, no order,—all going on in this shiftless way!

    Uncle Tom's Cabin

    Harriet Beecher Stowe

  • The village life abounds with jokers, Shiftless, conscienceless and shrewd.

    Prairie Folks

    Hamlin Garland

British Dictionary definitions for shiftless


  1. lacking in ambition or initiative
Derived Formsshiftlessly, adverbshiftlessness, 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

Word Origin and History for shiftless

"wanting in resources or energy and ability to shift for oneself," 1580s, from shift (n.1) in the sense "resources" + -less. Related: Shiftlessly; shiftlessness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper