AskDefine | Define shift

Dictionary Definition



1 an event in which something is displaced without rotation [syn: displacement]
2 a qualitative change [syn: transformation, transmutation]
3 the time period during which you are at work [syn: work shift, duty period]
4 the act of changing one thing or position for another; "his switch on abortion cost him the election" [syn: switch, switching]
5 the act of moving from one place to another; "his constant shifting disrupted the class" [syn: shifting]
6 (geology) a crack in the earth's crust resulting from the displacement of one side with respect to the other; "they built it right over a geological fault" [syn: fault, geological fault, fracture, break]
7 a group of workers who work for a specific period of time
8 a woman's sleeveless undergarment [syn: chemise, shimmy, slip, teddies, teddy]
9 a loose-fitting dress hanging straight from the shoulders without a waist [syn: chemise, sack]


1 make a shift in or exchange of; "First Joe led; then we switched" [syn: switch, change over]
2 change place or direction; "Shift one's position" [syn: dislodge, reposition]
3 move around; "transfer the packet from his trouser pockets to a pocket in his jacket" [syn: transfer]
4 move very slightly; "He shifted in his seat" [syn: stir, budge, agitate]
5 move from one setting or context to another; "shift the emphasis"; "shift one's attention"
6 change in quality; "His tone shifted"
7 move and exchange for another; "shift the date for our class reunion"
8 move sideways or in an unsteady way; "The ship careened out of control" [syn: careen, wobble, tilt]
9 move abruptly; "The ship suddenly lurched to the left" [syn: lurch, pitch]
10 use a shift key on a keyboard; "She could not shift so all ther letters are written in lower case"
11 change phonetically as part of a systematic historical change; "Grimm showed how the consonants shifted"
12 change gears; "you have to shift when you go down a steep hill"
13 lay aside, abandon, or leave for another; "switch to a different brand of beer"; "She switched psychiatrists"; "The car changed lanes" [syn: switch, change]

User Contributed Dictionary



Old English sciftan ‘arrange, organise’, from Germanic *skiftanan. Cognate with Dutch schiften, German schichten, Norwegian skifte.



  1. To change, swap
    His political stance shifted daily.
  2. to move from one place to another; to redistribute
    We'll have to shift these boxes to the downtown office.
  3. to change position
    She shifted slightly in her seat.
  4. To change gears (in a car).
    I crested the hill and shifted into fifth.
  5. In the context of "transitive|computing": to remove the first value from an array.
  6. to dispose of
    How can I shift a grass stain?
  7. to hurry
    If you shift, you might make the 2:19.
  8. (Ireland, crude slang) to engage in sexual petting.


To change, swap
to move from one place to another
to change position
To change gears


  1. a type of women's undergarment, a slip
    Just last week she bought a new shift at the market.
  2. a change of workers, now specifically a set group of workers or period of working time
    We'll work three shifts a day till the job's done.
  3. an act of shifting; a slight movement or change
    There was a shift in the political atmosphere.
  4. the gear mechanism in a motor vehicle
    Does it come with a stick-shift?
  5. a button on a keyboard, chiefly for switching between upper and lower case
    If you press shift-P, the preview display will change.


type of women's undergarment
change of workers
  • Czech: směna
  • Finnish: työvuoro, vuoro
  • Greek: βάρδια
  • Italian: cambio
  • Spanish: turno
  • Telugu: బదిలీ (badilI)
act of shifting
gear mechanism in a motor vehicle
button on a keyboard
  • Finnish: vaihto, shift

Extensive Definition

Shift generally means to change (position).
Shift may refer to:
In mathematics and computing:

See also

shift in Dutch: Shift
shift in Japanese: シフト
shift in Simple English: Shift

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Doppler effect, aberrancy, aberration, about ship, about the bush, about-face, accommodation, action, ad hoc measure, adaptation, adjustment, advance, alchemy, alter, alteration, alternate, ameliorate, amelioration, amotion, anchor watch, answer, apostasy, around the bush, art, artful dodge, artifice, ascend, assimilate to, assimilation, assumption, back, back and fill, back up, bag of tricks, be changed, be converted into, be renewed, bear away, bear off, bear to starboard, beat, beat about, beat around, become, becoming, beg the question, bend, betterment, bias, bicker, bit, blind, blouse, bluff, bodice, boggle, bosey, bottom out, bout, box off, branch off, branching off, break, bring about, bring round, bring to, budge, cadre, caftan, cant, cant round, carry away, carry off, cart away, cast, cast about, catch, cavil, change, change course, change into, change of heart, change over, change place, change the bearing, change the heading, change-over, changeableness, changeover, cheat, checker, chemise, chicanery, chop, chop and change, choplogic, chouse, circle, circuitousness, climb, come about, come around, come round, conspiracy, constructive change, continuity, contrivance, conversion, convert, corner, corps, corsage, countermove, coup, course of action, craft, crew, crook, curve, curve-ball, cute trick, day shift, deceit, deceive, declination, defection, deflection, degenerate, degeneration, degenerative change, delocalization, delocalize, demarche, depart from, departure, deracination, dernier ressort, descend, design, deteriorate, deterioration, detour, deviance, deviancy, deviate, deviation, device, deviousness, dickey, difference, digress, digression, dirty deal, dirty trick, disarrangement, disarticulation, discontinuity, discursion, disjointing, dislocation, dislodge, displace, displacement, dither, divagate, divagation, divaricate, divarication, diverge, divergence, diversification, diversify, diversion, diversity, do over, dodge, dogleg, dogwatch, double, double a point, drift, drifting, duck, ebb, ebb and flow, edge, effort, equivocate, errantry, evade, evade the issue, excursion, excursus, exorbitation, expediency, expedient, fakement, fast deal, feint, fence, fetch, fetch about, ficelle, finesse, fitting, flip-flop, flop, flounder, flow, fluctuate, forcible shift, full time, gambit, game, gang, get over, gimmick, go, go about, go around, go round, go sideways, go through phases, googly, gradual change, graveyard shift, grift, group, growth, gybe, gyrate, hairpin, half time, haul around, heave round, hedge, heel, hem and haw, heterotopia, hocus-pocus, hours, improve, improvement, improvisation, incoherence, indirection, intrigue, jibe, jibe all standing, joker, juggle, jugglery, jury-rig, jury-rigged expedient, knavery, lapse, last expedient, last resort, last shift, lay aside, lie, linen, little game, lobster trick, look after, luxation, make, make do, make it, make over, makeshift, manage, maneuver, manhandle, market, means, measure, meliorate, melioration, miss stays, mitigate, mitigation, modification, modulate, modulation, mount, move, move over, movement, moving, mutate, muu-muu, mystify, naturalization, naturalize, night shift, nitpick, obliquity, obscure, oscillate, overthrow, overtime, palter, parry, part time, party, pass, passage, pendulate, pererration, pick nits, pis aller, plot, ploy, plunge, ply, prevaricate, progress, pull away, pull back, pussyfoot, put about, put aside, put back, put off, qualification, quibble, racket, radical change, rambling, re-creation, re-formation, realignment, rearrange, recoil, reconversion, reconvert, recourse, red herring, red shift, redesign, reduce to, reduction, reform, reformation, refuge, regress, relay, relocate, relocation, remaking, remotion, removal, remove, removement, render, renewal, reshaping, resolution, resolve into, resort, resource, restructuring, retrogress, reversal, reverse, revival, revive, revivification, revolution, ring the changes, ripping out, rise, rotate, round a point, run, ruse, schedule, scheme, scurvy trick, seesaw, sell, send, set aside, shake-up, sheer, sheer off, shift about, shift off, shifting, shifting course, shifting path, shilly-shally, shirt, shrink, shuffle, shunt, shy, shy away, shy off, side, sidestep, sink, skew, slant, sleight, sleight of hand, sleight-of-hand trick, slew, smock, soar, solution, spin, split hairs, split schedule, split shift, squad, staff, stagger, step, step aside, stint, stir, stopgap, stratagem, strategy, straying, stream, stroke, stroke of policy, subside, substitute, subterfuge, succeed, sudden change, sunrise watch, sway, sweep, swerve, swerving, swing, swing round, swing shift, swing the stern, swinging, switch, switch over, switch-over, tack, tactic, take a turn, take away, take care of, team, teeter, teeter-totter, temporary expedient, tergiversate, throw about, time, total change, totter, tour, tour of duty, transfer, transform, transformation, transit, transition, transpose, travel, trend, trick, trickery, trump, turn, turn aside, turn back, turn into, turn of work, turn the corner, turnabout, turning, turning into, twist, twist and turn, undergo a change, unhinging, unjointing, upheaval, uprooting, vacillate, variation, variety, vary, veer, violent change, volte-face, waist, wandering, wane, ward off, warp, watch, waver, wax and wane, wear, wear ship, whirl, wile, wily device, wind, wobble, work shift, workers, working hypothesis, working proposition, worsen, worsening, yaw, zigzag
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