shift 1 of 2

as in to change
to pass from one form, state, or level to another she watched the aurora in fascination as its colors shifted from green to blue

Synonyms & Similar Words

Antonyms & Near Antonyms

as in to exchange
to give up (something) and take something else in return my brother and I shifted seats just before takeoff so that he could sit by the window

Synonyms & Similar Words



2 of 2


Synonym Chooser

How is the word shift different from other nouns like it?

Some common synonyms of shift are expedient, makeshift, resort, resource, and stopgap. While all these words mean "something one turns to in the absence of the usual means or source of supply," shift implies a tentative or temporary imperfect expedient.

desperate shifts to stave off foreclosure

When could expedient be used to replace shift?

The words expedient and shift can be used in similar contexts, but expedient may apply to any device or contrivance used when the usual one is not at hand or not possible.

a flimsy expedient

When is it sensible to use makeshift instead of shift?

The synonyms makeshift and shift are sometimes interchangeable, but makeshift implies an inferior expedient adopted because of urgent need or allowed through indifference.

old equipment employed as a makeshift

How are the words resource and resort related as synonyms of shift?

Both resource and resort apply to anything one falls back upon.

exhausted all of their resources
a last resort

When might stopgap be a better fit than shift?

While the synonyms stopgap and shift are close in meaning, stopgap applies to something used temporarily as an emergency measure.

a new law intended only as a stopgap

Thesaurus Entries Near shift

Cite this Entry

“Shift.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on shift

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!