sheepish and shifty

anOther

Member
Norwegian
I came over this sentence:

'He looked incredably sheepish, almost shifty,' which are two adjectives that don't seem to corelate..

Does anyone have a suggestion to how to interpret them together?

Thanks
 
  • Welshie

    Senior Member
    England, English
    Sheepish = shy, quiet, nervous.
    Shifty = quiet, secretive, suspicious.

    The author is saying that it is difficult to say whether the person was just shy and quiet or quiet because he has something to hide.
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    You actually came across that sentence.

    I also agree that the two adjectives don't correlate.

    To look sheepish is to look embarrassed or ashamed.

    Shifty is evasive or deceitful.

    The shifty are rarely embarrassed.
     

    anOther

    Member
    Norwegian
    Thanks, Welshie, I'll go for your enterpretation. And thanks Brioche for confirming my suspicion and correcting my English
     
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