"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[shif-tee] /ˈʃɪf ti/
adjective, shiftier, shiftiest.
resourceful; fertile in expedients.
given to or full of evasions; tricky.
suggesting a deceptive or evasive character:
a shifty look.
Origin of shifty
1560-70; shift + -y1
Related forms
shiftily, adverb
shiftiness, noun
unshifty, adjective
2. crafty, foxy, slippery. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for shifty
  • Forget checking your bag and having some shifty handler rifling through your possessions.
  • They can videotape you and edit the tape in such a fashion that you look shifty eyed or incoherent.
  • The shifty boredom when anyone, other than himself, is speaking.
  • shifty physiognomy, it seems, is independent of these things.
  • Small wonder, then, that the shifty car salesman has became such a stereotype.
  • They've also been made to look somewhat shifty because they have not nailed down their policies.
  • They know which shifty characters to look out for and which policing works best in their area.
  • Shy and shifty, his awkward demeanour was at odds with his way with scissors.
  • His pale, shifty eyes were deformed by powerful spectacles.
  • But then your first shifty entries began to arrive in our mailbox.
British Dictionary definitions for shifty


adjective shiftier, shiftiest
given to evasions; artful
furtive in character or appearance
full of expedients; resourceful
Derived Forms
shiftily, adverb
shiftiness, 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
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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
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