shift

verb
\ ˈshift How to pronounce shift (audio) \
shifted; shifting; shifts

Definition of shift

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to exchange for or replace by another : change
2a : to change the place, position, or direction of : move
b : to make a change in (place)
3 : to change phonetically

intransitive verb

1a : to change place or position
b : to change direction the wind shifted
c : to change gears
d : to depress the shift key (as on a typewriter)
2a : to assume responsibility had to shift for themselves
b : to resort to expedients
3a : to go through a change she shifted in her approach
b : to change one's clothes
c : to become changed phonetically
shift gears
: to make a change

shift

noun

Definition of shift (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a means or device for effecting an end
b(1) : a deceitful or underhand scheme : dodge
(2) : an effort or expedient exerted or tried in difficult circumstances : extremity was put to hard shifts for a living— Benjamin Franklin
2a chiefly dialectal : a change of clothes
b(1) chiefly dialectal : shirt
(2) : a woman's slip or chemise
(3) : a usually loose-fitting or semifitted dress
3a : a change in direction a shift in the wind
b : a change in emphasis, judgment, or attitude
4a : a group of people who work or occupy themselves in turn with other groups
b(1) : a change of one group of people (such as workers) for another in regular alternation
(2) : a scheduled period of work or duty works the night shift
5 : a change in place or position: such as
a : a change in the position of the hand on a fingerboard (as of a violin)
b(1) : fault sense 5
(2) : the relative displacement of rock masses on opposite sides of a fault or fault zone
c(1) : a simultaneous change of position in football by two or more players from one side of the line to the other
(2) : a change of positions made by one or more players in baseball to provide better defense against a particular hitter
d : a change in frequency resulting in a change in position of a spectral line or band — compare doppler effect
e : a movement of bits in a computer register (see register entry 1 sense 9) a specified number of places to the right or left
6 : a removal from one person or thing to another : transfer
8 : a bid in bridge in a suit other than the suit one's partner has bid — compare jump
9 : gearshift

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Other Words from shift

Verb

shiftable \ ˈshif-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce shiftable (audio) \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for shift

Noun

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 shift in a Sentence

Verb

I shifted the bag to my other shoulder. She shifted her position slightly so she could see the stage better. They shifted him to a different department. He nervously shifted from foot to foot. She shifted in her seat. Public opinion has shifted dramatically in recent months. Their efforts to shift public opinion have failed. I wanted to shift the discussion back to the main point. They tried to shift the blame onto us. Their attempts at shifting attention away from the controversy seemed to be working.

Noun

There will be a shift of responsibility when she takes the new position. a shift away from tradition a gradual shift toward more liberal policies a shift in voter opinion The day shift worked overtime. The restaurant needed only one shift for lunch. He works the day shift.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

On Galaxy phones, One UI brings a refined aesthetic and smart interface that shifts content and menus to make apps more intuitive, and moving it to tablets is a logical and important step toward building an iOS-like ecosystem. Michael Simon, PCWorld, "The ultra-thin Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e has an OLED screen, Android Pie and no S Pen for $400," 15 Feb. 2019 This has also shifted other episodes in the season as well, though the new schedule has not yet been confirmed. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Here's Why 'NCIS' Can't Air the Mysterious Ziva Episode Tonight as Planned," 5 Feb. 2019 Public opinion shifted in 2018 in favor of regulating greenhouse gases, and 100 percent renewable energy goals became wildly popular. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Climate and energy news in 2018 actually wasn’t all bad," 1 Jan. 2019 When Jia did not pay up, the ground shifted quickly. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Faraday Future CEO’s long trail of debt is finally catching up to him," 8 Dec. 2018 By the end of October, things started really shifting in your interpersonal relationships. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What November's Taurus Horoscope Means for You," 28 Oct. 2018 Sears’ more simplistic home system also shifted social views on housing, according to 99 Percent Invisible. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "How Sears Kit Homes changed housing," 16 Oct. 2018 In addition, because mass detainment of immigrant families has not yet occurred, public reactions could shift after the policy took effect. Scott Clement, Washington Post, "The public rejected Trump’s child-separation policy, but a majority supports his push to detain families until court hearings," 13 July 2018 And there are thousands of campaign spots to be aired, so these numbers will shift. Craig Gilbert, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "GOP senate primary in Wisconsin already reflects north-south divide within party," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

According to The Atlantic, the time shift might be detrimental to people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder, a depression that kicks in when the seasons change. Megan Friedman, Country Living, "10 Things You Didn't Know About Daylight Saving Time," 6 Mar. 2019 But her shift to truly healthy habits wasn't an easy one at first. Miranda Siwak, Good Housekeeping, "What Jennifer Hudson Eats to Maintain Her 80-Pound Weight Loss," 25 Feb. 2019 The most troubling shift may be how economically struggling rural and exurban areas, which are losing young adults, are increasingly home to concentrated populations of older adults who lack the means to relocate and end up aging in place. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Senior housing: Older Americans face affordability, accessibility challenges," 14 Nov. 2018 Rubber gaskets separate the 10-and-a-half foot tall glass walls from the concrete roof to prevent cracking in case of shifts in the structure. David Gleisner, Daily Southtown, "Rare glass house carved into hillside hits the market in Olympia Fields," 14 July 2018 But in the last few years, he’s noticed a cultural shift in his hometowns. Grace Wong, chicagotribune.com, "Common Good aims to create new cocktail culture in western suburbs," 13 July 2018 Some designers thrive by undergoing chameleonic shifts from one season to the next. Laura Regensdorf, Vogue, "The Tom Ford Beauty Code—Glamorous and Sexy—Is Here to Stay," 7 Feb. 2019 That’s a shift from November, when Windows 7 held a 38.89 percent market share, and Windows 10’s share was 38.14 percent. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Microsoft's Windows 10 finally tops Windows 7 in user share," 2 Jan. 2019 Instagram has quietly started testing a horizontal feed for some users, a huge sideways shift from the vertically-scrolling user experience that’s been the norm since the app launched. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Instagram is testing a new horizontal feed," 27 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shift.' 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 shift

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

1523, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for shift

Verb

Middle English, from Old English sciftan to divide, arrange; akin to Old Norse skipa to arrange, assign

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Learn More about shift

Dictionary Entries near shift

shieling

shier

shiest

shift

shiftability

shift bid

shift boss

Statistics for shift

Last Updated

14 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shift

The first known use of shift was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for shift

shift

verb

English Language Learners Definition of shift

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to move or to cause (something or someone) to move to a different place, position, etc.
: to change or to cause (something) to change to a different opinion, belief, etc.
: to go or to cause (something) to go from one person or thing to another

shift

noun

English Language Learners Definition of shift (Entry 2 of 2)

: a change in position or direction
: a change in how something is done or how people think about something
: a group of people who work together during a scheduled period of time

shift

verb
\ ˈshift How to pronounce shift (audio) \
shifted; shifting

Kids Definition of shift

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to change or make a change in place, position, or direction He … shifted his pipe away from the talking side of his mouth …— Christopher Paul Curtis, Bud, Not Buddy
2 : to go through a change Public opinion shifted in his favor.
3 : to change the arrangement of gears transmitting power (as in an automobile)
4 : to get along without help : fend I can shift for myself.

shift

noun

Kids Definition of shift (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a change in place, position, or direction a shift in the wind
2 : a change in emphasis or attitude a shift in priorities
3 : a group of workers who work together during a scheduled period of time
4 : the scheduled period of time during which one group of workers is working
5 : gearshift

shift

noun
\ ˈshift How to pronounce shift (audio) \

Medical Definition of shift

: a change in place, position, or frequency: as
a : a change in frequency resulting in a change in position of a spectral line or band — compare doppler effect
b : a removal or transfer from one thing or place to another — see chloride shift

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More from Merriam-Webster on shift

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shift

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shift

Spanish Central: Translation of shift

Nglish: Translation of shift for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shift for Arabic Speakers

Comments on shift

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