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)
(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

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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 Elsewhere, there are plans to shift some of the New York Police Department's $6 billion funding to youth and social services. Emma Reynolds, CNN, "Calls are growing to defund police in the US. Here are some lessons from overseas," 24 June 2020 The fund notes that policies must now shift to aiding recovery, but that debt load and uncertainty of the virus could limit the effectiveness of further fiscal measures. Anne Sraders, Fortune, "‘Definitely not out of the woods’: IMF further slashes estimates for global GDP growth," 24 June 2020 The internship did start later than usual because of the pandemic and planning needed to shift to a virtual experience. Sarah Hauer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Kohl's wasn't going to cancel its internship program. So, 280 corporate interns will work remotely during the summer of coronavirus," 23 June 2020 The health system is starting to look much different as facilities shift to telemedicine, which allows doctors to meet with patients through video conferencing software, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported. USA TODAY, "Tattoos, masks, telemedicine, Yellowstone: News from around our 50 states," 23 June 2020 Another question that Myers-Smith and her colleagues are looking into is what that shift in vegetation might mean for wild animal species. Matt Simon, Wired, "Why the Arctic Is Warming So Fast, and Why That’s So Alarming," 23 June 2020 Yet some think the social and political ground might soon shift. The Economist, "Banyan Racism in Australia is not just a thing of the past," 20 June 2020 Garland’s teammate, Collin Sexton, was maligned for the same reasons during his first year and while the jury is still out on Sexton’s ceiling as a pro, there are plenty of encouraging signs, with the narrative starting to shift. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Darius Garland was the NBA’s worst player. Should he get a pass for horrible rookie season?," 19 June 2020 The mechanical aspects of handling the bike are typically the most apparent—how to shift smoothly, how to take a corner skillfully, how to perform an emergency stop, etc. Byron Wilson, Popular Science, "Ride safely with these essential motorcycle tips," 19 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This linen halter shift dress is bursting with color. Christie Calucchia, Southern Living, "10 Summer-Ready Dresses to Buy From Amazon’s Big Style Sale," 25 June 2020 The good news for creators is that there is a significant new technology shift underway that has the potential to revitalize the open market: a new era of friction-less payments. Samir Patil, Fortune, "How a ‘creator economy’ could help writers and artists triumph over Facebook and Google," 25 June 2020 Work begins at 6 o'clock More than 1,300 workers stream into the factory for a 6 a.m. shift start at Dearborn Truck Plant. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "Ford F-150 pickup trucks second only to iPhone in sales. Here's why that's important," 24 June 2020 The influx of available workers marks an abrupt shift for the tech labor market, which until recently had been facing a severe shortage of talent. Angus Loten, WSJ, "Job Anxiety Spills Into Tech Sector," 24 June 2020 And in some countries, such as India and Nepal, hundreds of schools have been converted into make-shift quarantine centers. Swati Gupta, CNN, "Pandemic could push an additional 120 million children in South Asia into poverty, says UNICEF," 23 June 2020 Despite the Venture's strong 3.73:1 axle ratios, maintaining 80 mph on mild highway grades usually requires manually selecting fourth gear via the gated shift lever. Scott Oldham, Car and Driver, "2020 Toyota 4Runner Venture Welcomes the Open Trail," 22 June 2020 This off-shoulder lace shift dress stand out with its open lace sleeves and trim detail. NBC News, "Amazon Big Style Sale 2020: Best deals on clothes, shoes and more," 22 June 2020 Staff members wait to be let in during shift change at Alexandria Care Center in Los Angeles. Isadora Kosofsky, Time, "A Socially Distant Father's Day at an L.A. Nursing Home Is a Welcome, Though Difficult Event," 22 June 2020

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

27 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Shift.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shift. Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for shift

shift

verb
How to pronounce shift (audio)

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

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shift

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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