[ shif-tee ]
/ ˈʃɪf ti /

adjective, shift·i·er, shift·i·est.

resourceful; fertile in expedients.
given to or full of evasions; tricky.
suggesting a deceptive or evasive character: a shifty look.

Nearby words

  1. shifting cultivation,
  2. shifting spanner,
  3. shiftless,
  4. shiftlessly,
  5. shiftwork,
  6. shiga-kruse bacillus,
  7. shigella,
  8. shigella boydii,
  9. shigella dysenteriae,
  10. shigella flexneri

Origin of shifty

First recorded in 1560–70; shift + -y1

Related formsshift·i·ly, adverbshift·i·ness, nounun·shift·y, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for shifty

British Dictionary definitions for shifty


/ (ˈʃɪftɪ) /

adjective shiftier or shiftiest

given to evasions; artful
furtive in character or appearance
full of expedients; resourceful
Derived Formsshiftily, adverbshiftiness, 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 shifty



1560s, "able to manage for oneself, fertile in expedients," from shift (n.1) in secondary sense of "dodge, trick, artifice" + -y (2). Meaning "habitually using dishonest methods, characterized by trickery" first recorded 1837. In a sense "prone to shifting," of the wind, used from 1884. Related: Shiftily; shiftiness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper