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Originally the same word as scuffle, and properly a frequentative of shove.


  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌfəl


shuffle (plural shuffles)

  1. The act of shuffling cards.
    He made a real mess of the last shuffle.
  2. The act of reordering anything, such as music tracks in a media player.
  3. An instance of walking without lifting one's feet.
    The sad young girl left with a tired shuffle.
  4. (by extension, music) A rhythm commonly used in blues music. Consists of a series of triplet notes with the middle note missing, so that it sounds like a long note followed by a short note. Sounds like a walker dragging one foot.
  5. A trick; an artifice; an evasion.
    • L'Estrange
      The gifts of nature are beyond all shame and shuffles.


  • 1995, Mel Kernahan, White savages in the South Seas, Verso, page 113:
    As I lay there listening to the strange night sounds, I hear the shuffle of someone creeping by outside in the grass.
  • 2003, Edmund G. Bansak & Robert Wise, Fearing the Dark: The Val Lewton Career, McFarland, page 394:
    She has a crippled leg, and every time she walks we hear the shuffle of her crinoline skirt and the thumping of her cane.
  • 2008, Markus Zusak, The Book Thief, Pan Macmillan Australia, page 148:
    Around her, she could hear the shuffle of her own hands, disturbing the shelves.

Derived terms[edit]



shuffle (third-person singular simple present shuffles, present participle shuffling, simple past and past participle shuffled)

  1. To put in a random order.
    Don't forget to shuffle the cards.
    You shuffle, I'll deal.
    The data packets are shuffled before transmission.
    I'm going to shuffle all the songs in my playlist.
  2. To move in a slovenly, dragging manner; to drag or scrape the feet in walking or dancing.
    He shuffled out of the room.
    I shuffled my feet in embarrassment.
    • Keats
      The aged creature came / Shuffling along with ivory-headed wand.
    • 1954, Alexander Alderson, chapter 4, in The Subtle Minotaur[1]:
      The band played ceaselessly. Even when the other instruments were resting the pianist kept up his monotonous vamping, with a dreary furbelow for embellishment here and there, to which some few of the dancers continued to shuffle round the floor.
  3. To change; modify the order of something.
    • 2010 December 28, Marc Vesty, “Stoke 0 - 2 Fulham”, in BBC[2]:
      But, rather than make a change up front, Hughes shuffled his defence for this match, replacing Carlos Salcido with Baird, in a move which few would have predicted would prove decisive.
  4. To change one's position; to shift ground; to evade questions; to resort to equivocation; to prevaricate.
    • Shakespeare
      I myself, [] hiding mine honour in my necessity, am fain to shuffle.
  5. To use arts or expedients; to make shift.
    • Shakespeare
      Your life, good master, / Must shuffle for itself.
  6. To shove one way and the other; to push from one to another.
    to shuffle money from hand to hand
  7. To remove or introduce by artificial confusion.
    • Dryden
      It was contrived by your enemies, and shuffled into the papers that were seiz'd.


  • (walk without picking up one's feet): shamble

Derived terms[edit]