Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Shiftless character or condition; lack of resource; inability to devise or use suitable expedients or measures; slackness; inefficiency; improvidence.
- n. The property of being shiftless.
- n. a failure to be active as a consequence of lack of initiative or ambition
- From shiftless + -ness (Wiktionary)
“The word shiftlessness or shiftless appears nowhere in my book.”
“The Okies fleeing the Midwest droughts of the 1930s were accused in California of "shiftlessness," "lack of ambition," "school overcrowding" and "stealing jobs" from native Californians.”
“He was intolerant of laziness -- "shiftlessness" the country phrase ran -- but he had the reputation of being a just taskmaster and he could be very kind.”
“And to avoid that horror of the real Yankee's dreams, "shiftlessness," she was to take up a small select school for employment.”
“He repeated to his tut-tutting father that he did not wish to go to college or law-school, and Babbitt was equally disturbed by this "shiftlessness" and by Ted's relations with Eunice”
“She despises the system of slavery for its "shiftlessness," almost as much as she abhors it for its sinfulness, and scouts expediency when it runs counter to right.”
“When she incessantly denounced the "shiftlessness" of letting a new threshing machine stand unprotected in the open, he eventually built a shed for it.”
“shiftlessness" of the people is disgusting enough; but when I see that the disposition to steal the crop is very general, that the people have done and can do it with impunity, I am discouraged about cotton-raising here.”
“shiftlessness," by Northern standards, was not inconsistent with free hospitality, a generous outdoor life, an old-time culture with an atmosphere of leisure and courtesy, superior in its way to what the busy and bustling North could show.”
“For one thing, they did not have a monopoly on shiftlessness.”
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