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 4
(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 shift (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 When security and networking work together, security gaps can be eliminated because configurations automatically adapt as infrastructure environments shift. Fortinet Contributor, Forbes, 14 June 2021 Tailoring online messaging and advertising toward Republican voters could shift their views on climate change, a new study published Monday in Nature Climate Change suggests. Julia Jacobo, ABC News, 14 June 2021 Friday's plan will have fire crews continue to conduct operations on the west side of Slate Mountain and then shift resources east to lure the fire to control lines in both directions, according to the release. Amaris Encinas, The Arizona Republic, 12 June 2021 In Massachusetts, 68% of people have a first dose and the mass vaccination sites are shutting down as officials shift to harder-to-reach places, such as drug treatment centers. BostonGlobe.com, 11 June 2021 And if all of this means some lower-income transit riders shift to driving on roads that are no longer quite so terrible? New York Times, 11 June 2021 Komerov is trying to break consumer habits and shift the focus back to neighborhood shopping. Alexis Benveniste, CNN, 10 June 2021 Back home, politicians were calling on them to decouple from China and shift their supply chains elsewhere. Annabelle Timsit, Quartz, 10 June 2021 Darker skin often scars more easily, requiring the artist to shift to different areas and be gentler. Christine Fernando, USA TODAY, 10 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And vaccination numbers are much lower in much of the rest of the world, exposing millions to highly transmissible and potentially more dangerous variants, and creating fresh opportunities for the SARS-CoV-2 to shape-shift yet again. Time, 15 June 2021 In the patrol area there will be a report writing room, a patrol sergeant’s office, a patrol lieutenant’s office, a mail/supplies room, a roll call room, and an area where officers will begin each shift with a supervising officer. Linda Gandee, cleveland, 15 June 2021 Rap’s gravitational shift away from Migos becomes clear during the guest spots. Sheldon Pearce, The New Yorker, 15 June 2021 Tuesday’s new death toll milestone reflects that shift. Talal Ansari, WSJ, 15 June 2021 There are strong signals that that shift is beginning. Felicia Jackson, Forbes, 14 June 2021 The new station will house one engine and one ambulance, with about five personnel on every shift. Sarah Bahari, Dallas News, 14 June 2021 Lindsay has watched the societal shift and barriers to entry up close as a lawyer and business owner who fights for equity in the industry, and as someone who has been arrested on drug possession charges. NBC News, 13 June 2021 Jeffrey Barner, 61, has held down two full-time jobs at the Hilton and Marriott in Baltimore for 16 years, with one shift starting at 7 a.m. and the second at 4 p.m. Washington Post, 11 June 2021

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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Time Traveler for shift

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for shift

Last Updated

16 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Shift.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shift. Accessed 22 Jun. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on shift

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shift

Nglish: Translation of shift for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shift for Arabic Speakers

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