Definition of shyster in English:



  • A person, especially a lawyer, who uses unscrupulous, fraudulent, or deceptive methods in business.

    • ‘Today many of the players earn huge amounts of money, and in place of the local shyster looking for a little glory, you have the multinational capitalist looking for huge profits.’
    • ‘Ellis claims that the deceased shyster forgave him several months' rent that Harry now tries to collect.’
    • ‘He's a shyster, they say, ripping off poor uneducated country folk with his mumbo-jumbo, and luring a stream of young girls into his bed.’
    • ‘He was a shyster lawyer, and had a wife and thirteen half-witted children.’
    • ‘The defense painted the accuser's mother as a shakedown shyster.’
    • ‘Joseph Alessi's playing of the husband and then a shyster lawyer is fine acting.’
    • ‘I put myself out on the line for this guy, and he was nothing but a shyster with a slick lawyer.’
    • ‘He declared the amount to be ‘good value for money in a business largely conducted by shysters and sharks.’’
    • ‘So now, six years in, what should these shysters, lawyers, and purveyors of vacuous mediocrity do next?’
    • ‘The gun manufacturers, together with other interested parties, should sue the law schools that manufacture the sort of ambulance-chasing shysters who initiate such litigation.’
    • ‘If there'd been anything to sue and resue and re-resue over, you can bet those 5,000 shysters the campaign flew in would be doing it.’
    • ‘Austere narrative depicts a 1950s Peterborough, Ontario swarming with tricksters, murderers, shysters and sodomites.’
    • ‘The refugee issue comes down to a shyster pointing out with one hand those people over there who will harm you, while dipping the other hand into the pocket of the xenophobicly distracted.’
    • ‘But to a significant degree it keeps out shysters, and those who are in meet minimum acceptable standards.’
    • ‘‘There were shysters, con men, everybody who would find this business attractive because you print your own money,’ he recalls.’
    • ‘Sekules eventually left the sport behind, increasingly disgusted at the mercenary amorality of the businessmen and shysters behind the scenes.’
    • ‘There is no place for chancers, shysters and skelms at sea… no political payback appointments who could literally sink a ship.’
    • ‘And some would call him a big, you know, phony and a shyster.’
    • ‘I was under no obligation to serve anything to the other party whatsoever, and if they had any complaints then they should take it up with the shyster.’
    • ‘Adapted from the short stories of Damon Runyon, the show put on stage for the first time the gamblers, gangsters and shysters of the area around Times Square.’


Mid 19th century: said to be from Scheuster, the name of a lawyer whose behavior provoked accusations of ‘scheuster’ practices, perhaps reinforced by German Scheisser ‘worthless person’.