• WordNet 3.6
    • adj shiftless lacking or characterized by lack of ambition or initiative; lazy "a shiftless student","studied in a shiftless way"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • a Shiftless Destitute of expedients, or not using successful expedients; characterized by failure, especially by failure to provide for one's own support, through negligence or incapacity; hence, lazy; improvident; thriftless; as, a shiftless fellow; shiftless management.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • shiftless Lacking in resource or energy, or in ability to shift for one's self or one's own; slack in devising or using expedients for the successful accomplishment of anything; deficient in organizing or executive ability; incapable; inefficient; improvident; lazy: as, a shiftless fellow.
    • shiftless Characterized by or characteristic of slackness or inefficiency, especially in shifting for one's self or one's own.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Shiftless destitute of shifts or expedients: unsuccessful, for want of proper means
    • ***


Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. sciftan, to divide, Ice. skipta.


In literature:

It's every thing to give them some ideas beyond their own shiftless ways.
"Nine Little Goslings" by Susan Coolidge
A shiftless soldier is a sore trial to the sergeant responsible for him.
"Uncle Sam's Boys in the Ranks" by H. Irving Hancock
My employer once said to me that he had heard and also read that Negroes were lazy, shiftless, and untrustworthy.
"Tuskegee & Its People: Their Ideals and Achievements" by Various
We live what most people call a shiftless life.
"The Master Mummer" by E. Phillips Oppenheim
She had found that to help that sort of shiftless people only made them worse.
"The End of the Rainbow" by Marian Keith
Then he was mighty lazy and shiftless.
"The Comings of Cousin Ann" by Emma Speed Sampson
He had never inquired her reasons, being shiftless, but that fact he knew.
"Red Men and White" by Owen Wister
He was a shiftless man indeed who could not provide ample food for his own needs.
"Agriculture in Virginia, 1607-1699" by Lyman Carrier
In Germany they knew how to care for such things, but these Americans were so shiftless.
"Jennie Gerhardt" by Theodore Dreiser
If he wasn't so lazy and shiftless he might have everything in good shape.
"Lippincott's Magazine, September, 1885" by Various

In poetry:

Men called him but a shiftless youth,
In whom no good they saw;
And yet, unwittingly, in truth,
They made his careless words their law.
"The Shepherd Of King Admetus" by James Russell Lowell
"While I run over to Widow Brown's;
Her son, from the mines, has just got back.
I don't believe he's a cent in his purse,
Young men are so shiftless now, alack!
"Phoebe's Wooing" by Horatio Alger Jr
But while the desp'rate curse, while lewdness cries,
And shiftlessness ought justly to go bare,
Forget it not, full many a Lazarus lies
Before thy gate and needs a crumb of care.
"The Great Strike" by Albery Allson Whitman
But, in time, when other people
Populate this troubled world,
Lo, from housetop and from steeple,
Futile curses will be hurled -
Curses on the shiftless ones,
Feckless robbers of their sons.
"In Time" by C J Dennis
He knows you! "sportsmen" from suburban alleys,
Stretched under seaweed in the treacherous punt;
Knows every lazy, shiftless lout that sallies
Forth to waste powder— as he says, to "hunt."
"My Aviary" by Oliver Wendell Holmes

In news:

Mitt and those shiftless moochers.
Bike Shop Plays Santa for a Shiftless Journo'.