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

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 With a focus on underdogs, misfits, and accidental heroes, Lee’s work was filled with flawed characters and themes of responsibility that grew more overt as the cultural tides shifted. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Remembering Stan Lee, the Marvel Comics Legend, Dies at 95," 12 Nov. 2018 As demands shifted—travelers sought cheaper trips, and homeowners needed more income—platforms such as Airbnb emerged, making mutually beneficial connections. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "How vacation homes went from private escape to investment opportunities," 2 Oct. 2018 Once the industry shifted to ready-to-wear, Capucci withdrew from the seasonal calendar to continue his craft, leaving his namesake line unmoored, despite several attempts to jump-start it. Monica Kim, Vogue, "How an Italian-French Duo Is Bringing a Roman Couturier Into the 21st Century," 11 Mar. 2019 This flexibility could be critical, as there's been talk of shifting New York City to a single-stream recycling system where paper would be mixed in with the rest of the metals and plastics. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Bikes, bowling balls, and the delicate balancing act that is modern recycling," 31 Dec. 2018 Her right leg, crossed over her left knee shifted from a soft bounce to a sharp kick. Anonymous, Good Housekeeping, "I Had to Choose Between Safety and My Mother," 21 Dec. 2018 The real treat is the two holographic shades towards the end, VR Fire Opal and Astral Luna Gold, which look gold and white but shift to a green and gold, respectively. Allure Editors, Allure, "The Best New Beauty Products of September 2018," 30 Sep. 2018 Production is already shifting overseas in another trade clash as Harley-Davidson recently announced plans to move some U.S. production to foreign operations to avoid European Union tariffs on American bikes. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "Trade wars are damaging, so why is Trump fighting one with China?," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Part of that new beginning meant transitioning from Marina and the Diamonds to simply Marina, reflecting a shift away from her former pop persona. Keaton Bell, Vogue, "Marina Is Back and Better Than Ever, Even Without The Diamonds," 5 Apr. 2019 Advertising Home prices are now rising at roughly the same pace as incomes, a remarkable shift after six years of increases that far outpaced wages. Christopher Rugaber, The Seattle Times, "US home price gains fall to lowest in more than 6 years," 26 Mar. 2019 Blame the soaring rents, the aging proprietors, or a shift in how young people dine—whatever the reason for the taberna’s demise, in the span of a generation, Madrid stands to lose one of its most remarkable social traditions. Benjamin Kemper, Condé Nast Traveler, "Tapas Crawling With Madrid’s 'Taberna King'," 26 Sep. 2018 The conversation then took a shift, with everyone at the table taking shots at Tristan and demanding that the NBA star start receiving just as much backlash for his actions as Jordyn. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'The View' Host Meghan McCain Gets Heated Over Jordyn Woods and Tristan Thompson Drama," 27 Feb. 2019 The transmission is usually a CVT operated by a shift-on-the-go hand lever. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "The Lawn Mower Buyer's Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Buy the Right Mower," 22 Feb. 2019 Intel has clearly struggled in its shift to 10nm processors, which are several years late and aren’t expected to launch until the holiday season. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Intel makes Bob Swan its permanent CEO, maintaining a slow, steady course away from the PC," 31 Jan. 2019 But the biggest shift from other games in the genre is the pacing. Julie Muncy, Ars Technica, "Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 review: War games, now with battle royale!," 19 Oct. 2018 According to Adam Annen, public relations manager for HomeAway, the shift has been sudden. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "How vacation homes went from private escape to investment opportunities," 2 Oct. 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

11 Apr 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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