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noun Informal.
  1. a lawyer who uses unprofessional or questionable methods.
  2. a person who gets along by petty, sharp practices.
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Origin of shyster

1835–45, Americanism; probably < German Scheisser, equivalent to scheiss(en) to shit + -er -er1; final -ser conformed to -ster
Related formsshy·ster·ism, noun
Can be confusedambulance chaser mouthpiece pettifogger shyster
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for shyster

chiseler, trickster, mouthpiece, cheater, scammer, pettifogger

Examples from the Web for shyster

Contemporary Examples of shyster

Historical Examples of shyster

British Dictionary definitions for shyster


  1. informal, mainly US a person, esp a lawyer or politician, who uses discreditable or unethical methods
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Word Origin for shyster

C19: probably based on Scheuster, name of a disreputable 19th-century New York lawyer
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 shyster


"unscrupulous lawyer," 1843, U.S. slang, probably altered from German Scheisser "incompetent worthless person," from Scheisse "shit" (n.), from Old High German skizzan "to defecate" (see shit (v.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper