shift

verb
\ ˈshift \
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 \ 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

The bank, whose leader is nominated by the United States and has always been a U.S. citizen, has since shifted its focus from reconstruction to development, extensively in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Darlene Superville, The Seattle Times, "Trump to tap David Malpass, critic of World Bank, to lead it," 6 Feb. 2019 Submarines are so secure that the United Kingdom’s entire nuclear arsenal has shifted to nuclear submarines, and France is heavily dependent on her Triomphant-class nuclear submarines to provide the country’s nuclear deterrent. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Does America Still Need the Nuclear Triad?," 23 Jan. 2019 One way to take winter’s pulse to look at how winter low temperatures are shifting. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Winters are warming faster than summers. These US cities could lose weeks of freezing days by 2050.," 21 Dec. 2018 But in the area directly under the electrodes, where the resistance had changed, this ordered structure had shifted to a different form. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Researchers make RAM from a phase change we don’t entirely understand," 18 Dec. 2018 For the past 13 months, Jupiter has shifted forward, backward, and connected with other planets in the sky — each motion perfectly aligning with an important cultural milestone. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What Your Sign's November Horoscope Predictions Mean for You," 28 Oct. 2018 First off, your circumstances and priorities have shifted. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Carrie Underwood Says Her Second Pregnancy Is 'Harder' on Her Body Than Her First," 18 Oct. 2018 Projects and proposals like these show how the conversation has evolved, says The Trust for Public Land’s O’Boyle, and how perceptions of what can be done have shifted. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Can high-profile park projects, catalysts for development, play nice with neighboring communities?," 17 July 2018 The other 12 games will come against Central Division teams including San Antonio and Texas, who have shifted from the Pacific to make room for Colorado. Jay Posner, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Gulls' 2018-19 schedule is released," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The policy shift, part of the U.S. government’s strategy to curb immigration, would apply to those entering the U.S. both legally and illegally. Juan Montes, WSJ, "Mexico to Receive Some Migrants From the U.S.," 25 Jan. 2019 But some experts believe that in addition to signaling hormonal shifts, morning sickness may offer some kind of defensive effect against pregnancy complications like miscarriage and preterm labor. Korin Miller, SELF, "Is It True That Morning Sickness Means Something Good During Pregnancy?," 10 Jan. 2019 Lightweight rattan pieces are easy to lift, and a desk on wheels allows the room to shape-shift, ready at a moment’s notice for shoots or studio work. Jennifer Blaise Kramer, House Beautiful, "Victoria Pearson Doesn't Use Color In Her Home For A Fascinating Reason," 9 Jan. 2019 And Lenovo’s also made the shift to Thunderbolt, with a pair of Thunderbolt 3-enabled ports on the side of the chassis. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Lenovo's Yoga S940 intros Smart Assist eye-tracking, noise filtering, and a glass-wrapped display," 8 Jan. 2019 Administrations change, budgets shift, and missions are killed off with spreadsheet keystrokes. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "America Is About to Take Back Human Spaceflight, and It's a Lot More Than Just Flag-Waving," 4 Jan. 2019 HBO Literary and artistic movements often arise spontaneously, out of specific moments — as a response to great cultural change, to geopolitical shifts, and/or to specific ebbs and flows within subcultures. Aja Romano, Vox, "In the era of Trump and apocalyptic change, Hopepunk is a storytelling template for #resistance — and hanging onto your humanity at all costs.," 27 Dec. 2018 Greene shifts back and forth between re-enactments of a deadly miners’ strike and unscripted pontificating about politics from some of the locals. Noel Murray, The Verge, "The 10 best documentaries of 2018," 18 Dec. 2018 And as her world changes and shifts, the series has to go with it. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," 9 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 Feb 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 \
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 \

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

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