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

And this guy just goes totally blank on me, the mood totally shifted. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, "Brynn Elliott on Breaking Down Our Internet Selves, Reading "Lord of the Rings," and Making New Music," 2 May 2019 Software robots now perform duties related to the month-end close, making general ledger entries and helping with financial reporting and purchase and payment processes, with more tasks expected to be shifted to the robots. Nina Trentmann, WSJ, "GSK Finance Chief Hands Baton to Successor as Centralization Efforts Bear Fruit," 1 Apr. 2019 In the month and a half since the layoffs, development of the final season of The Walking Dead has been shifted to Skybound Games. Jon Porter, The Verge, "Telltale Games is reportedly closing down for good as games disappear," 15 Nov. 2018 That’s because billions of dollars of work would be shifted to the future when costs will be higher. Barnini Chakraborty, Fox News, "California bullet train project on track to blow through billions of more dollars," 31 Aug. 2018 In this position, your weight should be shifted into your heels and your knees should track over your second toes (and not go beyond that point). Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "Strengthen Your Legs and Butt With These 2 Bodyweight Exercises From Celebrity Trainer Jeanette Jenkins," 15 Aug. 2018 This may be a sign that commodity traders are shifting their focus from supply surges and shocks back to global macroeconomic conditions. Jon Sindreu, WSJ, "Petrocurrencies Fall Back in Love with Oil," 10 Apr. 2019 Kimora noted that Baby Phat will shift its focus toward millennials and Gen X customers, a plan that her daughters Ming Lee, 19, and Aoki Lee, 16, will no doubt help execute. Jessica Andrews, Teen Vogue, "Kimora Lee Simmons’ Baby Phat Is Relaunching This Summer," 11 Mar. 2019 Part of that restructuring includes killing off several small-car and sedan models in the U.S. as the company shifts more investment to higher-profit trucks and SUVs. Nathan Allen, WSJ, "Ford Joint Venture to Exit Russia Passenger Car Market," 27 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Spring is in the air and, with the shift in temperatures comes the annual desire to make a change. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "Kylie Jenner Takes Her Hair to Extreme New Lengths on Instagram," 24 Apr. 2019 As Sabrina starts to play with her powers in the new episodes, look out for subtle shifts in color, especially in her lipstick. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina," 5 Apr. 2019 Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder characterized by significant shifts in mood and energy levels, according to the NIMH. Carolyn Kylstra, SELF, "Mental Health Awareness Means Talking About All Types of Mental Illness," 29 Mar. 2019 Proponents argue that incentives, regardless of the shifts in how public money is spent, bring needed jobs and tax revenue. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Amazon HQ2 bids: The weird ways cities wanted to woo Bezos," 27 Dec. 2018 Overall, the results are consistent with a big shift in teen drug use. Angela Chen, The Verge, "Teens are turning away from cigarettes and alcohol and toward vaping," 17 Dec. 2018 But skin is quite sensitive to shifts in intensity and amplitude, and that's what the M:NI system exploits. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "New wearable tech lets users listen to live music through their skin," 25 Nov. 2018 Women in their 30s are now officially having more babies than women in their 20s, according to CDC data, but technology still may not be keeping up with a sharp demographic shift: women are putting off pregnancy. Macaela Mackenzie, Glamour, "Women Are Waiting Longer than Ever to Get Pregnant—Do You Have A Plan for Your Fertility?," 22 Apr. 2019 In recent years, auto makers have focused many of their auto-show debuts on sport-utility offerings, reflecting a shift among American buyers away from sedans to larger, more expensive vehicles. Mike Colias, WSJ, "SUVs Shine at New York Auto Show," 20 Apr. 2019

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

9 May 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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