|Origin:||sciftan 'to divide, arrange'|
a) [intransitive and transitive]
to move from one place or position to another, or make something do this:
Joe listened, shifting uncomfortably from one foot to another.
She shifted her gaze from me to Bobby.
b) [transitive] British English informal
to move something, especially by picking it up and carrying it:
Give me a hand to shift these chairs.
to change a situation, discussion etc by giving special attention to one idea or subject instead of to a previous one
shift something away/onto/from etc
The White House hopes to shift the media's attention away from foreign policy issues.
In this stage of a rape case, the focus often shifts onto the victim and her conduct.
shift gear American English (=change what you are doing)
It's hard to shift gear when you come home after a busy day at work.
if someone's opinions, beliefs etc shift, they change:
change opinion[intransitive and transitive]
Public opinion was beginning to shift to the right (=become more right-wing).
shifting attitudes towards marriage
He refused to shift his ground (=change his opinion).
to make someone else responsible for something, especially for something bad that has happened:
It was a clear attempt to shift the responsibility for the crime onto the victim.
to change the way that money is paid or spent:
costs/spending[transitive always + adverb/preposition]BF
the need to shift more resources towards reducing poverty
to remove dirt or marks from a surface or piece of clothing:
dirt/marks[transitive] British English
a new washing powder that will shift any stain
to change the gears when you are driving [= change British English]
in a car[intransitive and transitive] especially American EnglishTTC
I shifted into second gear.
to sell a product, especially a lot of it:
sell[transitive] British English informal
The store shifted over 1,000 copies of the book last week.