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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 classic literature ?
The stranger reeled and came within an ace of falling, but regained his footing right quickly.
Then he shouted to his boys to come and kill the stranger.
The maids thereon went out with torches in their hands, and when they had made the bed they came up to Ulysses and said, "Rise, sir stranger, and come with us for your bed is ready," and glad indeed was he to go to his rest.
The day now began to send forth its first streams of light, when Jones made an apology to the stranger for having staid so long, and perhaps detained him from his rest.
Harkee, stranger," said Paul Hover, bluntly; "do you understand lining a bee from this open place into a wood, distant, perhaps, a dozen miles?
Sir,' retorted the stranger, 'you speak like a mere man of the world, and I think you something better.
The stranger began to babble and made a prophecy concerning the child that lay in the arms of the agnostic.
As they passed through the lodge-gates, Miss Garth looked round, and saw that the stranger was quickening his pace, apparently with the purpose of entering into conversation.
said the stranger, quickly, and cocking his eye at me.
I looked at it," went on Galazi, "and I tell you, stranger, a great desire came into my heart to possess it.
So saying, the stranger backed along with me into the parlour and put me behind him in the corner so that we were both hidden by the open door.
It was commenced by the Stranger with some impatience at the lengthiness of my introductory process.
D'Artagnan made all these remarks with the rapidity of a most minute observer, and doubtless from an instinctive feeling that this stranger was destined to have a great influence over his future life.
The young man, wishing to spare his employer the pain of this interview, questioned the new-comer; but the stranger declared that he had nothing to say to M.
One glance and smile placed the stranger on a footing of innocent familiarity with the eldest daughter.