Definition of shift verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ʃɪft//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ʃɪft//
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they shift
    BrE BrE//ʃɪft//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ʃɪft//
    he / she / it shifts
    BrE BrE//ʃɪfts//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ʃɪfts//
    past simple shifted
    BrE BrE//ˈʃɪftɪd//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈʃɪftɪd//
    past participle shifted
    BrE BrE//ˈʃɪftɪd//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈʃɪftɪd//
    -ing form shifting
    BrE BrE//ˈʃɪftɪŋ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈʃɪftɪŋ//
    jump to other results
  1. 1  [intransitive, transitive] to move, or move something, from one position or place to another Lydia shifted uncomfortably in her chair. I shifted uneasily under his gaze. shift (from…) (to…) The action of the novel shifts from Paris to London. shift something Could you help me shift some furniture? shift something (from…) (to…) He shifted his gaze from the child to her. She shifted her weight from one foot to the other.
  2. 2[intransitive, transitive] shift (yourself) (British English, informal) to move quickly synonym hurry
  3. situation/opinion/policy
  4. 3  [intransitive] (of a situation, an opinion, a policy etc.) to change from one state, position, etc. to another Public attitudes towards marriage have shifted over the past 50 years. shift (from…) (to/towards/toward…) The balance of power shifted away from workers towards employers. Her sympathies gradually shifted to the side of the protesters.
  5. 4[transitive] to change your opinion of or attitude towards something, or change the way that you do something shift something We need to shift the focus of this debate. shift something (from…) (to/towards/toward…) The new policy shifted the emphasis away from fighting inflation.
  6. responsibility
  7. 5[transitive] shift responsibility/blame (for something) (onto somebody) to make somebody else responsible for something you should do or something bad that you have done He tried to shift the blame for his mistakes onto his colleagues.
  8. remove mark
  9. 6[transitive] shift something to remove something such as a dirty mark synonym get rid of somebody/something a detergent that shifts even the most stubborn stains
  10. sell goods
  11. 7[transitive] shift something to sell goods, especially goods that are difficult to sell They cut prices drastically to try and shift stock.
  12. in vehicle
  13. 8[intransitive] (North American English) to change the gears when you are driving a vehicle to shift into second gear
  14. Word OriginOld English sciftan ‘arrange, divide, share’, of Germanic origin; related to German schichten ‘to layer’. A common Middle English sense ‘change, replace’ gave rise to the noun senses (5) and (6) (via the sense of ‘changing one's clothes’) and senses (2) and (3) (via the sense of ‘relays of workers’).Extra examples Government grants are being shifted away from the capital to the regions. He shifted his weight onto his left foot. Her eyes shifted to his face. His sympathies rapidly shifted to the side of the workers. I felt the advantage had suddenly shifted away from us. In recent years, manufacturing has shifted out of the US. Julie shifted her position slightly and smiled. Like many plays, this one shifts back and forth in time and place. She shifted her gaze away from the group of tourists. She shifted uncomfortably in her chair. These changes will shift the balance in higher education more towards science subjects. They tried to shift the blame onto the government. We cannot simply shift the responsibility onto someone else. constantly shifting alliances Can you help me shift these boxes? The little girl shifted her weight from one foot to another. They are trying to shift public attitudes about the nature of old age.Idioms (usually disapproving) to change your opinion about a subject, especially during a discussion
    (the) shifting sands (of something)
    jump to other results
    used to describe a situation that changes so often that it is difficult to understand or deal with it
    Phrasal Verbsshift for yourself
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: shift