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Having or of an untrustworthy, dubious, or deceptive appearance. There are always a bunch of shifty-looking characters around this part of town at night, so let's not linger! I didn't feel great about the deal when John's shifty-looking business partner came along to sign the papers.

no stranger to (something)

Thoroughly experienced in or knowledgeable about something; not encountering something for the first time. Don't worry, I'm no stranger to spicy food. They brought in an agent who was no stranger to such complex cases.
See also: no, stranger

be no stranger to (something)

To be thoroughly experienced in or knowledgeable about something or someone. Don't worry, I'm no stranger to spicy food. They brought in a crack agent who was no stranger to such complex cases.
See also: no, stranger

little stranger

A baby or very young child that is new to someone's life, especially parents or siblings. While the arrival of a new baby is usually a very happy event for most first-time parents, it can also be incredibly overwhelming and at times unpleasant bringing a little stranger into one's life and home. Siblings over the age of three have a hard time in particular accepting the little stranger who now takes away the attention from mommy and daddy.
See also: little, stranger

Fact is stranger than fiction,

 and Truth is stranger than fiction.
Prov. Things that really happen are harder to believe or more amazing than stories that people invent. Did you see the story in the newspaper about the criminal who attacks people with a toenail clipper? Fact is stranger than fiction! Jill: I can't believe someone's paying 900 dollars for Tom's broken-down old car—it doesn't even run. Jane: Truth is stranger than fiction.
See also: fact, fiction, stranger

perfect stranger

 and total stranger
Fig. a person who is completely unknown [to oneself]. I was stopped on the street by a perfect stranger who wanted to know my name. If a total stranger asked me such a personal question, I am sure I would not answer!
See also: perfect, stranger

stranger to (something or some place)

someone who is new to an area or place. Although John was a stranger to big cities, he enjoyed visiting New York. You are a stranger to our town, and I hope you feel welcome.
See also: stranger

truth is stranger than fiction

Real life can be more remarkable than invented tales, as in In our two-month trip around the world we ran into long-lost relatives on three separate occasions, proving that truth is stranger than fiction . This expression may have been invented by Byron, who used it in Don Juan (1833).
See also: fiction, stranger, truth

little stranger

a newly born baby. informal
2002 Psychology Today For anyone in the brand new role of caring for a little stranger so totally dependent on their ministrations, the early days of motherhood challenge anyone's sense of competence.
See also: little, stranger

be no/a ˈstranger to something

(formal) be familiar/not familiar with something because you have/have not experienced it many times before: He is no stranger to controversy.
See also: no, something, stranger

ˌtruth is stranger than ˈfiction

(saying) used to say that things that actually happen are often more surprising than stories that are invented
See also: fiction, stranger, truth
References in classic literature ?
Now listen to me,' said the stranger, after closing the door and window.
It's not of him I want to hear; I've heard enough of him,' said the stranger, stopping Mr.
cried the loquacious stranger, as they came out under the low archway, which in those days formed the entrance to the coach-yard.
Dead, sir--dead,' said the stranger, applying to his right eye the brief remnant of a very old cambric handkerchief.
The shoulders of the stranger shook violently, and when he tried to roll a cigarette the paper fell from his trembling fingers.
The stranger arose and staggered off down the street.
cried the stranger, twirling his staff above his head, betwixt his fingers and thumb, until it whistled again.
In a moment Robin stepped quickly upon the bridge where the stranger stood; first he made a feint, and then delivered a blow at the stranger's head that, had it met its mark, would have tumbled him speedily into the water.
Now get out," said the stranger, "and next time you see me remember who I am," and he spoke a name in the Swede's ear--a name that more effectually subdued the scoundrel than many beatings--then he gave him a push that carried him bodily through the tent doorway to sprawl upon the turf beyond.
The stranger searched the clothing on the corpse until he came upon the key.
This fair little stranger is so small of bone and sinew, that his old name is not to the purpose.
While I improved in speech, I also learned the science of letters as it was taught to the stranger, and this opened before me a wide field for wonder and delight.
Indeed, sir," continued the stranger, more calm than ever; "well, that is perfectly right
The two women looked at this person whose presence they had entirely forgotten, and retired; but, as she left the apartment, Julie gave the stranger a supplicating glance, to which he replied by a smile that an indifferent spectator would have been surprised to see on his stern features.
Are you still here, stranger," said he, "to pester people by begging about the house?