down·​shift | \ ˈdau̇n-ˌshift How to pronounce downshift (audio) \
downshifted; downshifting; downshifts

Definition of downshift

intransitive verb

1 : to shift an automotive vehicle into a lower gear
2 : to move or shift to a lower level (as of speed, activity, or intensity)

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Other Words from downshift

downshift noun

Examples of downshift in a Sentence

You can downshift to slow the car down.
Recent Examples on the Web Normally, in Sport mode, a car will automatically downshift to a lower gear under braking. K.c. Colwell, Car and Driver, "Tested: 2020 Ford Mustang 2.3L vs. 2021 Toyota Supra 2.0," 13 Oct. 2020 An automatic-equipped NAS Defender from the '90s will frequently downshift out of top gear at highway speeds, its old Rover V-8 fighting ongoing skirmishes with the wind. Ezra Dyer, Car and Driver, "2020 Osprey Defender Reimagines the Classic Land Rover Defender," 27 Aug. 2020 To reign as the lowest-cost carrier in skies raining deep discounts, Ryanair needs to downshift its expense base to a plane that's not just lower, but substantially lower. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "Not wasting a crisis: How Ireland’s Ryanair is using the pandemic to power an audacious growth plan," 2 Aug. 2020 In most cars, navigating that takes a light dab of the brakes while downshifting before turning onto the ramp and merging with authority. Tony Quiroga, Car and Driver, "2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S Reminds Us What Fast Feels Like," 7 Apr. 2020 Maybe the Two Percent Economy downshifts to a One Percent Economy. James Pethokoukis, TheWeek, "How the virus could weigh down America's economy for the long haul," 7 May 2020 Switch to Sport mode and shifts are snappier and earlier, even downshifting under braking while approaching a turn. Jim Resnick, Ars Technica, "The baby Benz has grown up—the 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA, reviewed," 27 Apr. 2020 There can be a dark side to sharing with strangers The 266,000 job gains last month further eased fears of a downturn, but the report also provided clues that the economy and labor market may be downshifting. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "A booming jobs report isn't an all-clear signal for the economy," 9 Dec. 2019 The Commerce Department reported that consumer spending downshifted and businesses continued to trim their investments in response to trade war uncertainty and a weakening global economy. Damian J. Troise, USA TODAY, "Stocks fall as the Fed's interest rate decision looms; General Electric among big winners," 30 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'downshift.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of downshift

1944, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for downshift

Time Traveler

The first known use of downshift was in 1944

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Statistics for downshift

Last Updated

20 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Downshift.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for downshift


How to pronounce downshift (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of downshift

: to put the engine of a vehicle into a lower gear
: to begin to work or happen at a level that is slower, easier, or more relaxed

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