A shyster is someone who acts in a disreputable, unethical or unscrupulous way, especially in the practice of law and politics, or is a con artist. Shyster is a slang word and calling someone a shyster could be considered libellous.


The word is derived from the German verb scheissen, "to defecate" and the English suffix -ster, "one who does". Shyster is an alteration of the German scheißer, which literally means "defecator" or an "incompetent worthless person".

There is no basis to conclude that a possible origin includes Shylock, a character in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice and the owner of a stall or shy in a market place.

Common misspellings

Shyster is commonly misspelled. Common variants include schister, scheister, sheister, schyster, shister, shaista, shiester and schiester.


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