A button on your CD player or in WinAmp that randomizes the order in which songs are played. Very handy when you're sick of the order the songs are already in on the CD or in that directory.

To randomize a deck of cards by splittling it in half and then... well, shuffling them back together.

A few years ago, a pair of mathematicians decided to calculate how many typical shuffles it would take to completely randomize a deck. They abstracted a poker deck into a fifty-two-dimensional space, then calculated the number of random shuffles it would take to make the dimensions equally distributed.1 Their answer: seven.

1 I have only their word for it that this was actually the simplest approach.

According to The New Grove Dictionary of American Jazz:

"Shuffle (1) A dance step of indefinite southern black-American origin, perhaps dating from the 18th century, in which the feet are moved rhythmically acorss the floor without being lifted.

"(2) A rhythm derived from the dance step. The tern is onomatopoeic, "sh" describing its characteristic smoothness (and especially its sound when played on the snare drum). The alternation of long and short syllables (shuf-fle, shuf-fle,...) evokes its distinguishing rhythm, a subdivision of the beat into uneven triplets which is more specific than the fundamental swing or boogie-woogie rhythm only in that it is usually played legato and at a relaxed tempo. The shuffle rhythm is generally confined to earlier styles of jazz, up to and including swing..."

The Dictionary goes on to point out the plethora of song titles which have contained the word "shuffle." These include:

"Showboat Shuffle," by King Oliver
"Riverboat Shuffle," by Frankie Trumbauer
"Syncopated Shuffle," by Duke Ellington
"Futuristic Shuffle," by Jan Savitt
"Boogie Stop Shuffle," by Charles Mingus
"Boneyard Shuffle," by Hoagy Carmichael and Irving Mills
"Harlem Shuffle," by Bob Relf and Earl Nelson (there is also the version by the Rolling Stones)
"Shuffle Along," by Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake
"Shuffle Off to Buffalo," by Al Dubin and Harry Warren
"Shufflin' Sam," by P.G. Wodehouse and Jerome Kern
"Soft Shoe Shuffle," by Spencer Williams and Maurice Burman


The Shuffle of your MP3 program. It is great, wonderful, amazing, absoutely incredible. You load your favourite MP3 playlist file, set it to loop and to shuffle, and go to work.

You work, one of your favourite songs comes on, you enjoy the song... then the MP3 program's nice built in randomizer repeats the song. You think "OK, I really like the song, I don't mind" or "Yay, my favourite song is on again" or something such as. The randomizer selects another song from the playlist. You listen to the song, continueing your work. Than the randomizer selects the song it has just played twice in a row.

You are somewhat annoyed. You've listened to the song enough to annoy you. The randomizer selects the song again. You are annoyed at the player, but you have work to do, you must continue doing it.

You do your best to ignore the program and the song. The song repeats again, you get up, peeved, and just kill it before you plug the etherkiller you have prepared at all times into your box or something such as.

Shuffling a deck of playing cards

To shuffle a deck of cards, cut it into two roughly equal stacks. Hold each stack lengthwise between your thumb and middle & ring fingers. Squeeze, putting your index finger against the backs of the cards so that they bow outward. Put your thumbs near each other and slowly slip them off the cards, so that the cards slap against the table a few at a time. Do this with the two stacks overlapping, so that they get mixed together. Square up the stacks and push them together. Repeat.

Bridging the cards is an optional advanced maneuver to bend the cards back in the other direction after shuffling. To bridge the cards, shuffle them but don't square up the deck. Instead put your fingers under the deck and your thumbs on top. Push the cards together so that they bend the other way. They should then riffle together. This keeps the cards straight and looks, sounds, and feels cool.

The above is known as the riffle shuffle. There is also the overhand shuffle, in which you take the bottom two-thirds of the deck and toss a few cards at a time off the top of it onto the former top third of the deck until the stack is exhausted.

Shuffling an array

/* randomizes the order of the first */
/* n elements of an integer array    */
void shuffle(int *array, int n){
  int i, r, temp;
  for(i = n-1; i > 1; --i){
    r = rand()%i;
    temp = array[r];
    array[r] = array[i];
    array[i] = temp;

Shuf"fle (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Shuffled (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Shuffling (?).] [Originally the same word as scuffle, and properly a freq. of shove. See Shove, and Scuffle.]


To shove one way and the other; to push from one to another; as, to shuffle money from hand to hand.


To mix by pushing or shoving; to confuse; to throw into disorder; especially, to change the relative positions of, as of the cards in a pack.

A man may shuffle cards or rattle dice from noon to midnight without tracing a new idea in his mind. Rombler.


To remove or introduce by artificial confusion.

It was contrived by your enemies, and shuffled into the papers that were seizen. Dryden.

To shuffe off, to push off; to rid one's self of. -- To shuffe up, to throw together in hastel to make up or form in confusion or with fraudulent disorder; as, he shuffled up a peace.


© Webster 1913.

Shuf"fle, v. i.


To change the relative position of cards in a pack; as, to shuffle and cut.


To change one's position; to shift ground; to evade questions; to resort to equivocation; to prevaricate.

I muself, . . . hiding mine honor in my necessity, am fain to shuffle. Shak.


To use arts or expedients; to make shift.

Your life, good master, Must shuffle for itself. Shak.


To move in a slovenly, dragging manner; to drag or scrape the feet in walking or dancing.

The aged creature came Shuffling along with ivory-headed wand. Keats.

Syn. -- To equivicate; prevaricate; quibble; cavil; shift; siphisticate; juggle.


© Webster 1913.

Shuf"fle, n.


The act of shuffling; a mixing confusedly; a slovenly, dragging motion.

The unguided agitation and rude shuffles of matter. Bentley.


A trick; an artifice; an evasion.

The gifts of nature are beyond all shame and shuffles. L'Estrange.


© Webster 1913.

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