make·​shift | \ ˈmāk-ˌshift How to pronounce makeshift (audio) \

Definition of makeshift

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

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Other Words from makeshift

makeshift adjective

Synonyms for makeshift


expedient, stopgap

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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

Restaurants, clinics and makeshift bars have sprouted up, powered by buzzing generators. Joe Parkinson, WSJ, "Thousands Flock to Remote, Lawless Sahara in Search of Gold," 16 Oct. 2018 After dark, free booze flowed from makeshift bars and attendees lit up high-end cigars. Jack Nicas, New York Times, "At Mars, Jeff Bezos Hosted Roboticists, Astronauts, Other Brainiacs and Me," 22 Mar. 2018 The deputies also learned that Kirk and the teens lived in a makeshift shack that was approximately 20 feet long by 4 feet high by 10 feet wide. Christine Pelisek,, "PEOPLE Explains: Calif. Parents Allegedly Kept Children in 'Box' For Four Years," 2 Mar. 2018 Multifunctional Ottomans: Love using yours as both a spare seat and a makeshift table? Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "Why You Should Be Using Outdoor Fabric for Basically Everything," 18 Apr. 2019 Apparently, the head hairstylist was already rushing to create a makeshift wig. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Nikolaj Coster-Waldau's Savage Game of Thrones Prank Almost Got Him Sued by HBO," 11 Apr. 2019 In Wellesley, more than 50 runners streamed into Carter Memorial United Methodist Church, which threw open its doors to become a makeshift recovery site offering food, drinks, coffee, and a roaring fire. Brian Macquarrie,, "Harsh weather turns Boston Marathon into a punishing slog," 17 Apr. 2018 As heavy snow fell on the makeshift site, protesters burned tires and scuffles broke out with police, who had moved in to dismantle the camp, which has been there for months. Iuliia Mendel, New York Times, "Police and Protesters Clash Outside Ukraine Parliament," 3 Mar. 2018 Within a week of adopting Redford, my front porch (and life) had become a makeshift shrine to Chewy. Jessica Teich, Good Housekeeping, "This $16 Pouch Is Like a Diaper Bag for Dog Moms," 15 Mar. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of makeshift

1766, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for makeshift

Last Updated

15 May 2019

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Time Traveler for makeshift

The first known use of makeshift was in 1766

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More Definitions for makeshift


make·​shift | \ ˈmāk-ˌshift How to pronounce makeshift (audio) \

Kids Definition of makeshift

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

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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).


one that collects or salvages junk

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