What does shift mean?

Definitions for shift

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word shift.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. shift, displacement(noun)

    an event in which something is displaced without rotation

  2. transformation, transmutation, shift(noun)

    a qualitative change

  3. shift, work shift, duty period(noun)

    the time period during which you are at work

  4. switch, switching, shift(noun)

    the act of changing one thing or position for another

    "his switch on abortion cost him the election"

  5. shift, shifting(noun)

    the act of moving from one place to another

    "his constant shifting disrupted the class"

  6. fault, faulting, geological fault, shift, fracture, break(noun)

    (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"

  7. shift(noun)

    a crew of workers who work for a specific period of time

  8. shift key, shift(noun)

    the key on the typewriter keyboard that shifts from lower-case letters to upper-case letters

  9. chemise, shimmy, shift, slip, teddy(noun)

    a woman's sleeveless undergarment

  10. chemise, sack, shift(verb)

    a loose-fitting dress hanging straight from the shoulders without a waist

  11. switch, change over, shift(verb)

    make a shift in or exchange of

    "First Joe led; then we switched"

  12. shift, dislodge, reposition(verb)

    change place or direction

    "Shift one's position"

  13. transfer, shift(verb)

    move around

    "transfer the packet from his trouser pockets to a pocket in his jacket"

  14. stir, shift, budge, agitate(verb)

    move very slightly

    "He shifted in his seat"

  15. shift(verb)

    move from one setting or context to another

    "shift the emphasis"; "shift one's attention"

  16. shift(verb)

    change in quality

    "His tone shifted"

  17. shift(verb)

    move and exchange for another

    "shift the date for our class reunion"

  18. careen, wobble, shift, tilt(verb)

    move sideways or in an unsteady way

    "The ship careened out of control"

  19. lurch, pitch, shift(verb)

    move abruptly

    "The ship suddenly lurched to the left"

  20. shift(verb)

    use a shift key on a keyboard

    "She could not shift so all her letters are written in lower case"

  21. shift(verb)

    change phonetically as part of a systematic historical change

    "Grimm showed how the consonants shifted"

  22. shift(verb)

    change gears

    "you have to shift when you go down a steep hill"

  23. switch, shift, change(verb)

    lay aside, abandon, or leave for another

    "switch to a different brand of beer"; "She switched psychiatrists"; "The car changed lanes"


  1. shift(Noun)

    a type of women's undergarment, a slip

    Just last week she bought a new shift at the market.

  2. shift(Noun)

    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. shift(Noun)

    an act of shifting; a slight movement or change

    There was a shift in the political atmosphere.

  4. shift(Noun)

    the gear mechanism in a motor vehicle

    Does it come with a stick-shift?

  5. shift(Noun)

    a bit shift

  6. shift(Noun)

    The infield shift.

    Teams often use the shift against this lefty.

  7. shift(Noun)

    The act of sexual petting.

  8. shift(Verb)

    To change, swap.

    His political stance shifted daily.

  9. shift(Verb)

    to move from one place to another; to redistribute.

    We'll have to shift these boxes to the downtown office.

  10. shift(Verb)

    to change position.

    She shifted slightly in her seat.

  11. shift(Verb)

    To change (one's clothes); also to change (someone's) underclothes.

  12. shift(Verb)

    To change gears (in a car).

    I crested the hill and shifted into fifth.

  13. shift(Verb)

    to manipulate a binary number by moving all of its digits left or right; compare rotate

  14. shift(Verb)

    to remove the first value from an array.

  15. shift(Verb)

    to dispose of.

    How can I shift a grass stain?

  16. shift(Verb)

    to hurry.

    If you shift, you might make the 2:19.

  17. shift(Verb)

    to engage in sexual petting.

  18. Shift(Noun)

    A modifier key whose main function is shifting between two or more functions of any of certain other keys (usually by pressing Shift and the other button simultaneously).

    Just last week she bought a new shift at the market.

  19. Origin: sciftan, from skiftanan. Cognate with Dutch schiften, German schichten, Norwegian skifte.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Shift(verb)

    to divide; to distribute; to apportion

  2. Shift(verb)

    to change the place of; to move or remove from one place to another; as, to shift a burden from one shoulder to another; to shift the blame

  3. Shift(verb)

    to change the position of; to alter the bearings of; to turn; as, to shift the helm or sails

  4. Shift(verb)

    to exchange for another of the same class; to remove and to put some similar thing in its place; to change; as, to shift the clothes; to shift the scenes

  5. Shift(verb)

    to change the clothing of; -- used reflexively

  6. Shift(verb)

    to put off or out of the way by some expedient

  7. Shift(verb)

    the act of shifting

  8. Shift(verb)

    the act of putting one thing in the place of another, or of changing the place of a thing; change; substitution

  9. Shift(verb)

    something frequently shifted; especially, a woman's under-garment; a chemise

  10. Shift(verb)

    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; as, a night shift

  11. Shift(verb)

    in building, the extent, or arrangement, of the overlapping of plank, brick, stones, etc., that are placed in courses so as to break joints

  12. Shift(verb)

    a breaking off and dislocation of a seam; a fault

  13. Shift(verb)

    a change of the position of the hand on the finger board, in playing the violin

  14. Origin: [OE. shiften, schiften, to divide, change, remove. AS. sciftan to divide; akin to LG. & D. schiften to divide, distinguish, part Icel. skipta to divide, to part, to shift, to change, Dan skifte, Sw. skifta, and probably to Icel. skfa to cut into slices, as n., a slice, and to E. shive, sheave, n., shiver, n.]


  1. Shift

    Shift is the final studio album by Swedish grindcore band Nasum. It was released on October 26, 2004, by Burning Heart Records in Sweden and on Relapse Records in North America. After this album was released, Mieszko Talarczyk died during the 2004 Tsunami. This was followed by the disbanding of Nasum.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Shift

    shift, v.t. to change in form or character: to put out of the way: to dress in fresh clothes.—v.i. to change about: to remove: to change one's clothes: to resort to expedients for some purpose: in violin-playing, to move the left hand from its original position next to the nut.—n. a change: in violin-playing, any position of the left hand except that nearest the nut: a squad or relay of men: a contrivance: an artifice: last resource: a chemise or woman's undermost garment (orig. signifying a change of body-linen).—adj. Shift′able, capable of being shifted.—ns. Shift′er, one who shifts: a trickster; Shift′iness, the character of being shifty.—adj. Shift′ing, unstable: shifty.—adv. Shift′ingly.—adj. Shift′less, destitute of shifts or expedients: unsuccessful, for want of proper means.—adv. Shift′lessly.—n. Shift′lessness.—adj. Shift′y, full of, or ready with, shifts, contrivances, or expedients.—Shift about, to vacillate: to turn quite round to the opposite point; Shift for one's self, to provide for one's self; Shift of crops, rotation of crops; Shift off, to defer: to put away.—Make shift, to find ways and means of doing something, contrive. [A.S. sciftan, to divide, Ice. skipta.]

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. shift

    In ship-building, when one butt of a piece of timber or plank overlaunches the butt of another, without either being reduced in length, for the purpose of strength and stability.--To shift [thought to be from the Anglo-Saxon scyftan, to divide]. To change or alter the position of; as, to shift a sail, top-mast, or spar; to shift the helm, &c. Also, to change one's clothes.

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. shift

    In a military sense, to change place or station. Hence, to shift quarters.

Editors Contribution

  1. shift

    A specific time period which you are required to attend work.

    Their shift started in the morning and finished in the evening so they were glad.

    Submitted by MaryC on December 26, 2019  
  2. shift

    To move.

    They were told to shift to another location so they did easily.

    Submitted by MaryC on December 26, 2019  

Etymology and Origins

  1. Shift

    An old name for a chemise, denoting a shift or change of linen; also an industrial term for a change of men at certain hours, so that work can be carried on uninterruptedly by day and night.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'shift' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #3811

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'shift' in Written Corpus Frequency: #3387

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'shift' in Nouns Frequency: #1278

  4. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'shift' in Verbs Frequency: #502

How to pronounce shift?

  1. Alex
    US English

How to say shift in sign language?

  1. shift


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of shift in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of shift in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Examples of shift in a Sentence

  1. Foad Izadi:

    What we have is a shift.

  2. John Williams:

    The shift is happening quickly.

  3. Danielle Pletka:

    This is a major, tectonic shift.

  4. Sylvia Huette-Ritterbusch:

    We wanted a paradigm shift in attitudes.

  5. Alan Dershowitz:

    It would be wise to shift his legal team.

Images & Illustrations of shift

  1. shiftshiftshiftshiftshift

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for shift

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • směna, posun, posuvCzech
  • Verschiebung, Verstellung, Gangschaltung, verlagern, Shift, Hochstelltaste, Schicht, Verlagerung, Schaltung, Umschalten, Umschalttaste, Shifttaste, verschieben, verstellenGerman
  • βάρδιαGreek
  • cambio, desplazamiento, tecla mayúsculas, desviación, deslizamiento, turno, tecla shift, moverse, mover, cambiarSpanish
  • شیفت, جابه‌جا شدن, انداختن, جابه‌جا کردنPersian
  • vuoro, siirtyminen, vaihteisto, siirtyä, vaihtaa, siirto, muutos, vaihto, shift, työvuoro, muuttaa, siirtääFinnish
  • décalage, touche majuscule, roulementFrench
  • खिसक जानाHindi
  • váltás, váltó, műszak, váltHungarian
  • spostarsi, muoversi, cambio, scambiare, barattare, permutareItalian
  • משמרתHebrew
  • シフト, シフトキーJapanese
  • subcinctusLatin
  • сменаMacedonian
  • ploegendienst, ploegenstelselDutch
  • przesunięcie, zmianaPolish
  • turno, troca, câmbio, marcha, trocar, desvio, shift, mudar, moverPortuguese
  • mit'aQuechua
  • переключи́ть, сдвиг, измене́ние, [[кла́виша]] [[шифт]], перемеще́ние, [[переключе́ние]] [[передача, шифт, сме́на, передвиже́ние, смеще́ние, переключе́ние, поменя́ть, изменя́ть, перемести́ть, дви́гаться, перемеща́ться, меня́ть, измени́ть, перемеща́ть, перемести́ться, дви́гать, дви́нуться, дви́нуть, переключа́тьRussian
  • smenaSlovak
  • växla, arbetspass, pass, skift, växel, flytta, arbetsskift, skifte, byte, skifttangent, byta, skifta, ändraSwedish
  • doriaSwahili
  • మార్పు, బదిలీ, మారు, మార్చుTelugu
  • kaydırma, üst karakter tuşu, vardiya, değiştirme, vites, shift tuşuTurkish

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