Definition of shuffle in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈʃʌf(ə)l/


1 [no object, with adverbial] Walk by dragging one’s feet along or without lifting them fully from the ground: I stepped into my skis and shuffled to the edge of the steep slope (as adjective shuffling) she heard Gran’s shuffling steps
More example sentences
  • I walked slowly shuffling along the busy hallway reflecting how alone one could feel in such a crowded place.
  • Drew and Jordan tussled out the door and onto the side walk, as Gavin shuffles along behind them.
  • With Romero penning the script, the dead once again walked and shuffled along the landscape of Pittsburgh.
shamble, drag one's feet, stumble, lumber;
stagger, teeter, totter, dodder, reel, lurch;
hobble, limp;
Scottish & Northern Irish  sprauchle
1.1Shift one’s position while sitting or move one’s feet while standing, typically because of boredom, nervousness, or embarrassment: Christine shuffled uneasily in her chair [with object]: Ben shuffled his feet in the awkward silence
More example sentences
  • Riley cleared his throat and shuffled uneasily on his feet.
  • His wild eyes were watching the boys and his feet shuffled uneasily.
  • His hands moved quickly when he talked, and he shuffled from one foot to the other, as if dancing.
scrape, drag, scratch, grind, scuffle, scuff
1.2 [with object] (shuffle something into) Put part of one’s body into (an item of clothing), typically in a clumsy way: she shuffled her feet into a pair of shoes
2 [with object] Rearrange (a pack of cards) by sliding them over each other quickly: he shuffled the cards and cut the deck [no object]: anybody who has played skat with my gran knows how to shuffle without dropping the cards
More example sentences
  • What if you shuffled a pack of cards thoroughly and turned over the top 10 cards and they were all red?
  • At the end of each hand, the played cards are gathered together and the whole pack is shuffled by the new dealer before the next deal.
  • A second pack of cards is shuffled and the top card turned over to determine trumps.
mix, mix up, mingle, intermix;
shift about, rearrange, reorganize, jumble
2.1Move (people or things) around so as to occupy different positions or to be in a different order: my father shuffled his money around various building societies she shuffled her papers into a neat pile the selectors have been shuffling their resources in recent matches
More example sentences
  • Votes will be recorded on a disc in each count centre and then brought to a central area, where they will be shuffled in order to guarantee voters' anonymity.
  • This would include bowling changes, field changes, shuffling the batting order, speeding up or slowing down the pace of the game, etc.
  • I could add new entries, shuffle the order of entries and delete entries from this list.
2.2Play or arrange (tracks on a music player) in a random order: the control lets you shuffle or skip songs by flicking the phone with your wrist
More example sentences
  • The Evolution lets you hide your gadgets here-and-there about your person, while keeping them near enough to your fingertips to shuffle tunes and find your camera in an instant.
  • For example, the playlist gives you intros interspersed with clips in the appropriate order, but if your player is shuffling tunes it won't preserve that order.
  • Internet radio is different: it may mean shuffling tracks, personalisation, downloading.
2.3 [no object] (shuffle through) Sort or look through (a number of things) hurriedly: he shuffled through the papers
More example sentences
  • The big box of Christmas paper came down from the cupboard above the microwave, and Mum shuffled through her collection, sorting them into various piles.
  • Dennis is busy organizing his desk, shuffling through all sorts of papers.
  • At a desk to the very side of the room, a very overweight, red-faced man was shuffling through some files and stuffing them into Manila folders.
3 [with object] (shuffle something off) Get out of or avoid a responsibility or obligation: some hospitals can shuffle off their responsibilities by claiming to have no suitable facilities
More example sentences
  • It is time to get back to basics: to self-discipline and respect for the law, to consideration for others, to accepting responsibility for yourself and your family, and not shuffling it off on the state.
  • Now, there are many reasons why the more unconventional parties are shuffled off to the sides of the electoral process.
  • To hear a lecture on proper accounting from Congress - whose favorite financial tool is shuffling liabilities off its balance sheet, in the form of either unfunded mandates or unfunded promises such as Social Security - is a joke.
3.1 [no object] archaic Behave in a shifty or evasive manner: Mr Milles did not frankly own it, but seem’d to shuffle about it
3.2 [no object] (shuffle out of) archaic Get out of (a difficult situation) in an underhand way: he shuffles out of the consequences by vague charges of undue influence


1 [in singular] A shuffling movement, walk, or sound: there was a shuffle of approaching feet
More example sentences
  • Their common gait is a shuffle like walk, however, they are able to reach speeds of 15 miles per hour on the ground.
  • You too will have to be walked out in a shuffle, the doormen now more like sanitarium orderlies than bouncers.
  • Plush but tidy brown hush puppies softened the girl's tread, and she walked with a slight shuffle, back hunched a bit, as if she were trying to hide from the world.
1.1A quick dragging or scraping movement of the feet in dancing: Violet tried on a top hat and did a brief vaudeville shuffle
More example sentences
  • Behind us, a middle-aged couple began to dance, a gentle rhythmic shuffle which seemed to catch on amongst the audience.
  • A simple shuffle has no way of knowing who is dancing to what.
  • One breaks into an impromptu jig, or sun dance, or hobo shuffle, whatever, while the others clap the beat.
1.2A dance performed with quick dragging or scraping movements of the feet.
Example sentences
  • It is not known when the shuffle was first performed on turf, rather than in a lounge room, but it is definitely known that opposition clubs hated it.
  • The couple still enjoy a soft shoe shuffle during a tea dance at the Trafford Centre and Edna said her life with Jim had been wonderful.
  • The shuffle, however, is like it was designed especially for me.
1.3A piece of music for or in the style of a shuffle: [mass noun]: it’s the usual blend of boogie, shuffle, and ballad
More example sentences
  • ‘I Send My Love to You’ starts slowly but is rescued by a rockabilly shuffle.
  • Highlights therefore include the acoustic shuffle of The Charging Sky, which includes some really lush melodies, excellent slide guitar and really fun lyrics.
  • For Line of Fire, he sets up a jazzy shuffle on the drums while a lone guitar twangs thousands of feet below.
1.4A rhythmic motif based on a shuffle dance step and typical of early jazz, consisting of alternating crotchets and quavers in a triplet pattern.
2An act of shuffling a pack of cards: the discard is removed from the deck until the next shuffle
More example sentences
  • Those that use a constant shuffle certainly negate card counting.
  • A professional bridge player was suspended from competition for manipulating a deck of cards during the shuffle and deal.
  • During the shuffle, dealer holds the cards so that she and the other players cannot see any of their faces.
2.1A change of order or relative positions; a reshuffle: the Prime Minister may have to consider a cabinet shuffle in the spring
More example sentences
  • It never fails to amaze me that junior high school pecking-order shuffles and re-shuffles are often the best way to read the policy tea leaves in the capital city of the world's most powerful nation.
  • This summer also brought two important cabinet shuffles.
  • The Presidential Office denied that a Cabinet shuffle was being considered.
2.2A facility on a music player for playing tracks in an arbitrary order: I had my iPod on shuffle and ‘Eleanor Rigby’ just happened to begin playing [as modifier]: a shuffle facility
More example sentences
  • A little song order shuffle, and 6 other tunes, and bang - a CD can have the word very in the title.
  • And that means that the music at work will go back onto proper rotation, not the half-assed shuffle of one CD alternated with Christmas carols.
  • I admit, it's a tough situation, especially since the CD shuffle often occurs when the parent is behind the wheel of a vehicle.
3 archaic A piece of equivocation or subterfuge.



be (or get) lost in the shuffle

North American informal Be overlooked or missed in a confused or crowded situation: a more established sport that sometimes gets lost in the shuffle is team handball
More example sentences
  • The exchange between Jonathon and Andrew has been interesting, although I fear that Ahrum's original point was lost in the shuffle.
  • There is the potential to really learn, to not get lost in the shuffle.
  • I mean, the next story comes up, the next big crisis comes up in the world or in America, and it is awfully easy to get lost in the shuffle.

shuffle off this mortal coil

see coil2.

shuffle the cards

Make a different use of one’s available options or resources.



Pronunciation: /ˈʃʌf(ə)lə/
Example sentences
  • He rails against the armies of form devisers, paper shufflers and managers who waste the tax payers' money while contributing nothing to the public good.
  • I left the Ministry of Agriculture many years ago now, yet my friend Tony has remained there, rising steadily to the rank of senior pencil shuffler.
  • A machine-shuffled game - but not a game with a continuous shuffler that makes it impossible to count - suits counters, but most players are better off with a hand-shuffled game.


Mid 16th century: perhaps from Low German schuffeln 'walk clumsily', also 'deal dishonestly, shuffle (cards)', of Germanic origin; related to shove and scuffle.

Words that rhyme with shuffle

duffel, kerfuffle, muffle, ruffle, scuffle, snuffle, truffle

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: shuf¦fle

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