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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 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: 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: 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 periodicals archive ?
Total stranger is found dead in a suitcase in a dungeon in a loft surrounded by nasty-looking objects of coital torture.
Anthony Nolan released the results today as it announced that, after forty years of appealing for bone marrow donors, more than three people every day are given a second chance at life, thanks to a generous stranger - but it's still not enough.
While 47% of British 18-24 year olds have offered to help a stranger in trouble, nearly one in 10 have posted something about it on social media, rather than helping out.
Anthony Nolan released the results today as it announced that, after 40 years of appealing for bone marrow donors, more than three people every day are given a second chance at life, thanks to a generous stranger - but it's still not enough.
About 15% of British 18 to 24-yearolds have pretended to be on the phone or texting to avoid helping a stranger who was in danger.
Participants were commuter train and public bus riders who were asked to talk to a stranger, to sit in solitude, or to do whatever they normally would do, then fill out a survey to measure the actual consequences of distant social engagement versus isolation, and the participants in the connection condition reported having the most positive experience out of all three of our experimental conditions, said Epley.
The book's introduction provides an impressive, expansive account of the philosophy of the stranger (who is not necessarily foreign) in a range of thinkers, including Freud, Habermas, Husserl, Levinas, Schmitt, and Ricoeur.
He also, as the title suggests, gives thanks for the kindness of strangers and shares stories of how they have helped him in many situations throughout his life.
Scene 1: lights cued--living stranger opens mouth and finds a fence.
John Brown, betting on the rails, said: "I think there will be a lot of money for Dark Stranger and it will be a battle between him and Star Traveller for favouritism.
Reviewed by Elaine Shelly, who also lives with Mysterious Stranger.
NEW YORK -- Time Warner Cable Digital TV customers now have instant access to the Pirates of the Caribbean film series including Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides in 3D on Movies On Demand.
The following of campaigns such as Find Mike, which saw Jonny Benjamin launch a global hunt for the stranger who stopped him jumping from a bridge - and Stephen Sutton's bid to raise PS1 million for charity, are proof of this.
PEOPLE in the North-east are more likely to come to the aid of their pet than to help a stranger in danger, new research has revealed.