Lost in the shuffle

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Lost in the shuffle is an idiom that has been in use for over one hundred years. We will examine the meaning of the idiom lost in the shuffle, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

Lost in the shuffle describes something that has been overlooked, someone who has gotten lost in a crowd, something that has not been recognized or dealt with because it has receded in a field of chaos. The idiom lost in the shuffle was first used in the 1880s but became popular around the turn of the twentieth century. The expression comes from the practice of mixing cards before playing a card game to achieve a randomness in the distribution of the cards among the players. Many other phrases and idioms have come from card playing, including dealt a bad hand, have an ace up one’s sleeve, and ante up. The idiom lost in the shuffle is often expressed in the negative, as in don’t get lost in the shuffle.


“Historically, in the past, sometimes victims were lost in the shuffle of the criminal justice system,” Walsh said. (The Union of Grass Valley)

Something lost in the shuffle of last night’s Community Police Oversight Board meeting: the city has yet to staff the crucial Office of Community Police Oversight. (D Magazine)

While this tactic afforded the opportunity for gifted young performers to showcase comedic, vocal and musical skills, I fear that the details of one of the play’s two concurrent storylines got lost in the shuffle, making its resolution murky if not altogether incomprehensible. (The Charleston Post and Courier)

The last municipal election cycle in Evanston was fraught with confusion about filing dates, primaries and an old referendum that got lost in the shuffle. (The Daily Northwestern)

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