from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To shift a motor vehicle into a lower gear.
  • intransitive v. To reduce the speed, rate, or intensity of something.
  • intransitive v. To simplify or reduce one's expectations or commitments, especially in work hours: "28 percent said that they had downshifted and voluntarily cut back on their income in some way ... to reflect changes in priorities” ( Carey Goldberg).
  • transitive v. To shift (a motor vehicle) into a lower gear.
  • transitive v. To reduce in speed, rate, or intensity: "The president is downshifting his confrontational rhetoric and reaffirming his readiness to talk arms control” ( Newsweek).
  • transitive v. To simplify or reduce one's commitments in (one's life).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To shift a transmission into a lower gear.
  • v. To function at a lower rate.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a change to a lower gear in a car or bicycle
  • n. a change from a financially rewarding but stressful career to a less well paid but more fulfilling one


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From down + shift


  • Time to downshift from the Bush Derangement Syndrome, folks. burritoboy Says:

    Matthew Yglesias » What Bush Got Right

  • Fleming managed a convincing attacca downshift from the "éternellement lumineux" young bodies of "La maison" to an intoxicated, drill-sergeant bark for "Les deux guerriers."

    To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow

  • Baby boomers decide to "downshift" -- fewer CDs. more time -- have figured this out: Owen Byrd and Maria Lines of Palo Alto, Calif., a public-interest lawyer and an engineer, decided to cut their $100,000 income by $20,000 this year to get an extra day at home.

    Are You Anxious? You're Not Alone

  • The auto has a paddle-shifter on each side of the steering wheel - right for up, left for down - and uncannily the system has a device called downshift rev matching, causing one passenger to remark: "I thought this was an automatic." - Stuff

  • Mr. Nicolau had earlier this year said the company had the flexibility to ramp up 2010 production to 2.7 million ounces but Monday said that wouldn't be appropriate, given the recent "downshift" in the global economic recovery.

    Gold Sinks as Market Worries Ebb

  • But the Cryptoterrestrial Hypothesis is grounded in a more familiar context; I'm not suggesting unseen dimensions or the need for ufonauts to "downshift" to our level our consciousness.

    Archive 2006-12-01

  • Fighting constantly to "downshift" our family routine.

    The Full Feed from

  • Or a dual-mode air card for a laptop that would automatically "downshift" from 4G to 3G when it traveled to an area where the WiMAX rollout hadn't yet arrived.

    Internet News

  • My wife is not warming to this "downshift" position as easily, however.

    the Jesus Manifesto

  • HSBC forecast that import growth would "moderate" due to slowing domestic demand and a "downshift" in international manufacturing.

    Affordable-Housing Delays Threaten China's Economy


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  • I just heard from the radio, that Kate Moss was proud to tell about her downshift from owning 5 departments to 4 departments. That's my girl! (WTF?)

    March 26, 2009