(1)   The act of changing one thing or position for another
"His switch on abortion cost him the election"
(2)   The act of moving from one place to another
"His constant shifting disrupted the class"
(3)   A loose-fitting dress hanging straight from the shoulders without a waist
(4)   A woman's sleeveless undergarment
(5)   The key on the typewriter keyboard that shifts from lower-case letters to upper-case letters
(6)   A qualitative change
(7)   An event in which something is displaced without rotation
(8)   A crew of workers who work for a specific period of time
(9)   (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"
"He studied the faulting of the earth's crust"
(10)   The time period during which you are at work


(11)   Make a shift in or exchange of
"First Joe led; then we switched"
(12)   Move and exchange for another
"Shift the date for our class reunion"
(13)   Lay aside, abandon, or leave for another
"Switch to a different brand of beer"
"She switched psychiatrists"
"The car changed lanes"
(14)   Move from one setting or context to another
"Shift the emphasis"
"Shift one's attention"
(15)   Change in quality
"His tone shifted"
(16)   Use a shift key on a keyboard
"She could not shift so all her letters are written in lower case"
(17)   Move abruptly
"The ship suddenly lurched to the left"
(18)   Change place or direction
"Shift one's position"
(19)   Move sideways or in an unsteady way
"The ship careened out of control"
(20)   Move very slightly
"He shifted in his seat"
(21)   Move around
"Transfer the packet from his trouser pockets to a pocket in his jacket"


, from *skiftanan. Cognate with Dutch , German , Norwegian .


  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. 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. to engage in sexual petting.


  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.
  6. a bit shift
  7. The infield shift.
    Teams often use the shift against this lefty.