make·​shift | \ ˈmāk-ˌshift \

Definition of makeshift

: a usually crude and temporary expedient : substitute A large box served as a makeshift table.

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from makeshift

makeshift adjective

Synonyms for makeshift


expedient, stopgap

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for makeshift

resource, resort, expedient, shift, makeshift, stopgap mean something one turns to in the absence of the usual means or source of supply. resource and resort apply to anything one falls back upon. exhausted all of their resources a last resort expedient may apply to any device or contrivance used when the usual one is not at hand or not possible. a flimsy expedient shift implies a tentative or temporary imperfect expedient. desperate shifts to stave off foreclosure makeshift implies an inferior expedient adopted because of urgent need or allowed through indifference. old equipment employed as a makeshift stopgap applies to something used temporarily as an emergency measure. a new law intended only as a stopgap

Examples of makeshift in a Sentence

when his belt broke, he was forced to use string as a makeshift

Recent Examples on the Web

They're barred from working outside the camp and must search for jobs within the small economy that has sprung up—running makeshift shops selling soda or shoes or working for aid organizations. Sarah Butrymowicz, Marie Claire, "Refugee Girls Want to Change the World. Will We Let Them?," 7 Jan. 2019 Seahawks go with three-safety look With something of a makeshift back seven, the Seahawks came up with a three-safety, three-cornerback look that appeared designed in part to get more experienced players on the field in obvious passing situations. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "With key defensive starters inactive, Seahawks had to experiment with new things against Chicago," 17 Sep. 2018 At the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., where 49 people were killed in 2016, the building was sealed but became a makeshift and later a temporary memorial that attracts 1,700 visitors a week from members of the LGBT community and beyond. Meredith Cohn,, "What happens to the sites of mass shootings depends on where and what they are," 10 July 2018 Nearly every available inch of ground at the sports complex is filled with tents and makeshift shelters and some migrants have hung hammocks in the bleachers. Alicia A. Caldwell, WSJ, "As Conditions Worsen, Some Caravan Migrants Seek to Go Back Home," 28 Nov. 2018 There are five makeshift shelters in operation tonight within Puebla. Liliana Frankel, Teen Vogue, "A Day in the Life of the Migrant Caravan," 16 Nov. 2018 Some of the Southerners escaping Hurricane Florence have found refuge in makeshift shelters, including campgrounds at three of the nation's largest motor speedways. Jeff Martin, Fox News, "Speedways, makeshift shelters offer rest to storm evacuees," 13 Sep. 2018 Many of the more than 2,300 children separated from their migrant parents remain at makeshift shelters and foster homes. New York Times, "Protests Across U.S. Call for End to Migrant Family Separations," 30 June 2018 At the same time, the number of unsheltered people dropped significantly in downtown areas that traditionally have had large populations of homeless who sleep in tents, makeshift shelters and cars. Gary Warth,, "Data shows homeless on the move in San Diego," 25 June 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of makeshift

1766, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about makeshift

Statistics for makeshift

Last Updated

23 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for makeshift

The first known use of makeshift was in 1766

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for makeshift


make·​shift | \ ˈmāk-ˌshift \

Kids Definition of makeshift

: serving as a temporary substitute I used my jacket as a makeshift pillow.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on makeshift

What made you want to look up makeshift? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a complex dispute or argument

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!