American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- v. To exchange (one thing) for another of the same class: shifted assignments among the students.
- v. To move or transfer from one place or position to another.
- v. To alter (position or place).
- v. To change (gears), as in an automobile.
- v. Linguistics To alter phonetically as part of a systematic historical change.
- v. To change position, direction, place, or form.
- v. To provide for one's own needs; get along: "See me safe up: for my coming down, I can shift for myself” ( Thomas More).
- v. To get along by tricky or evasive means.
- v. To change gears, as when driving an automobile.
- v. Linguistics To be altered as part of a systematic historical change. Used of speech sounds.
- v. To use a shift key.
- n. A change from one person or configuration to another; a substitution.
- n. A group of workers that relieve another on a regular schedule.
- n. The working period of such a group: worked the night shift.
- n. A means to an end; an expedient.
- n. A stratagem; a trick.
- n. A change in direction: a shift in the wind.
- n. A change in attitude, judgment, or emphasis.
- n. A change in position, as:
- n. Music A change of the hand position in playing the violin or a similar instrument.
- n. Football A rearrangement of players from one formation to another just prior to the snap of the ball.
- n. Baseball A rearrangement of one or more fielders for improved defense against a particular hitter.
- n. Geology See fault.
- n. Computer Science Movement of characters in a register to the left or right, as of the bits in a byte.
- n. An act or instance of using a shift key.
- n. Physics A change in wavelength, causing a movement of a spectral band or line.
- n. Linguistics A systematic change of the phonetic or phonemic structure of a language.
- n. Linguistics Functional shift.
- n. A loosely fitting dress that hangs straight from the shoulder; a chemise.
- n. A woman's undergarment; a slip or chemise.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- To divide; partition; distribute; apportion; assign: as, to shift lands among coheirs.
- To transfer or move, as from one person, place, or position to another: as, to shift the blame; to shift one's quarters; to shift the load to the other shoulder.
- To cause or induce to move off or away; get rid of, as by the use of some expedient.
- To remove and replace with another or others; put off and replace; change: as, to shift one's clothes; to shift the scenes on a stage.
- To clothe (one's self) afresh or anew; change the dress of.
- To alter or vary in character, form, or other respect; change.
- To put away; disengage or disencumber one's self of, as of a burden or inconvenience.
- To make division or distribution.
- To change. To pass into a different form; give place to something different: as, the scene shifts.
- To change place, position, direction, or the like; move.
- To change dress, particularly the under-garments.
- To use changing methods or expedients, as in a case of difficulty, in earning a livelihood, or the like; adopt expedients; contrive in one way or another; do the best one can; seize one expedient when another fails: as, to shift for a living; to shift for one's self.
- To pick up or make out a livelihood; manage to succeed.
- To practise indirect methods.
- In playing the violin or a similar instrument, to move the left hand from its first or original position next to the nut.
- Synonyms To vary, veer chop.
- n. Change; alteration or variation in kind, character, place, position, direction, or the like; the substitution of one thing, kind, position, direction, or the like for another.
- n. In playing the violin or a similar instrument, any position of the left hand except that nearest the nut. When the hand is close to the nut, so that the first finger produces the next tone to that of the open string, it is said to be in the first position; when it is moved so that the first finger falls where the second was originally, it is in the second position or at the half-shift. The third position is called the whole shift, and the fourth position the double shift. When the hand is not in the first position, it is said to be on the shift.
- n. The substitution of one thing or set of things for another; a change: as, a shift of clothes.
- n. A woman's under-garment; a chemise.
- n. In mining, a slight fault or dislocation of a seam or stratum, accompanied by depression of one part, destroying the continuity.
- n. A squad or relay of men who alternate with another squad or relay in carrying on some work or operation; hence, the time during which such a squad or relay works: as, to be on the day shift; a night shift; the day is divided into three shifts of eight hours each.
- n. Turn; move; varying circumstance.
- n. An expedient, device, or contrivance which may be tried when others fail; a resource.
- n. A petty or indirect expedient; a dodge; a trick; an artifice.
- n. In building, a mode of arranging the tiers of bricks, timbers, planks, etc., so that the joints of adjacent rows shall not coincide.
- n. Synonyms Device, Resort, etc. (see expedient), stratagem.
- n. Subterfuge, etc. (see evasion), dodge, ruse, wile, quirk.
- n. In pianoforte-making, the action of the shifting pedal (which see).
- v. transitive To change, swap.
- v. transitive to move from one place to another; to redistribute.
- v. intransitive to change position.
- v. obsolete, transitive To change (one's clothes); also to change (someone's) underclothes.
- v. intransitive To change gears (in a car).
- v. transitive, computing to manipulate a binary number by moving all of its digits left or right; compare rotate
- v. transitive, computing to remove the first value from an array.
- v. transitive to dispose of.
- v. intransitive to hurry.
- v. Ireland, vulgar, slang to engage in sexual petting.
- n. historical a type of women's undergarment, a slip
- n. a change of workers, now specifically a set group of workers or period of working time
- n. an act of shifting; a slight movement or change
- n. US the gear mechanism in a motor vehicle
- n. alternative spelling of Shift (“the modifier button of computer keyboards”).
- n. computing a bit shift
- n. baseball The infield shift.
- n. Ireland The act of sexual petting.
- n. archaic A contrivance, device to try when other methods fail
- n. archaic a trick, an artifice
GNU Webster's 1913
- v. obsolete To divide; to distribute; to apportion.
- v. To change the place of; to move or remove from one place to another
- v. To change the position of; to alter the bearings of; to turn.
- v. To exchange for another of the same class; to remove and to put some similar thing in its place; to change
- v. obsolete To change the clothing of; -- used reflexively.
- v. To put off or out of the way by some expedient.
- v. obsolete To divide; to distribute.
- v. To make a change or changes; to change position; to move; to veer; to substitute one thing for another; -- used in the various senses of the transitive verb.
- v. To resort to expedients for accomplishing a purpose; to contrive; to manage.
- v. To practice indirect or evasive methods.
- v. (Naut.) To slip to one side of a ship, so as to destroy the equilibrum; -- said of ballast or cargo.
- n. The act of shifting.
- n. The act of putting one thing in the place of another, or of changing the place of a thing; change; substitution.
- n. Something frequently shifted; especially, a woman's under-garment; a chemise.
- n. The change of one set of workmen for another; hence, a spell, or turn, of work; also, a set of workmen who work in turn with other sets.
- n. In building, the extent, or arrangement, of the overlapping of plank, brick, stones, etc., that are placed in courses so as to break joints.
- n. (Mining) A breaking off and dislocation of a seam; a fault.
- n. (Mus.) A change of the position of the hand on the finger board, in playing the violin.
- v. change phonetically as part of a systematic historical change
- n. the key on the typewriter keyboard that shifts from lower-case letters to upper-case letters
- v. move and exchange for another
- n. a loose-fitting dress hanging straight from the shoulders without a waist
- n. (geology) a crack in the earth's crust resulting from the displacement of one side with respect to the other
- v. move very slightly
- v. change gears
- v. change place or direction
- n. a woman's sleeveless undergarment
- v. lay aside, abandon, or leave for another
- v. use a shift key on a keyboard
- n. the time period during which you are at work
- v. change in quality
- n. a qualitative change
- n. the act of moving from one place to another
- v. make a shift in or exchange of
- n. an event in which something is displaced without rotation
- n. a crew of workers who work for a specific period of time
- n. the act of changing one thing or position for another
- v. move sideways or in an unsteady way
- v. move from one setting or context to another
- v. move abruptly
- v. move around
- Old English sciftan ("arrange, organise"), from Proto-Germanic *skiftanan. Cognate with Dutch schiften, German schichten, Norwegian skifte. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English shiften, from Old English sciftan, to arrange, divide. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“The term shift work disorder, or SWD, may be new to you.”
“That's why I think the term "shift" is more accurate.”
“This shift is code for sending the nearly three million people who live in camps, under the protection of U.N. forces, back home to their villages, where they are to be "protected" by the very Sudanese forces that have been slaughtering them for the last seven years.”
“Funcom's new MMO project, The Secret World, has been in the works for some time already, and it sounds like its going to take a good while longer, the online game specialists confirming that major changes will see the title shift fundamentally from original plans. blog, Funcom's Ragnar Tornquist has said that these new changes will take a while to be implemented - seeing the game pushed back.”
“The fundamental block on making this shift is the Pakistan government, which appears to have powerful domestic reasons to want to be able say, even as pure fig leaf, the US military is not fighting in Pakistan.”
“Nothing great, but I think the shift is a good idea.”
“Republican aides asserted the shift is a sign the White House fears the criticism is having an impact.”
“Wrote Bill: Now take a guess which letter was omitted from the word 'shift.”
“His misguided quest had been doomed to fail from the moment he conceived it, and watching his expression shift, his shoulders slump, Bonnie knew he finally understood that.”
“He did not notice her expression shift, his attention first on the human.”
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