Language: Old English
Origin: sciftan 'to divide, arrange'


1 verb
Related topics: Motor Vehicles
shift1 W3


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.

change attention

[transitive] 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.
shifts attention/emphasis/focus
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.

change opinion

[intransitive and transitive] if someone's opinions, beliefs etc shift, they change:
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).

shift the blame/responsibility (onto somebody)

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.


[transitive always + adverb/preposition]BF to change the way that money is paid or spent:
the need to shift more resources towards reducing poverty


[transitive] British English to remove dirt or marks from a surface or piece of clothing:
a new washing powder that will shift any stain

in a car

[intransitive and transitive] especially American EnglishTTC to change the gears when you are driving [= change British English]
I shifted into second gear.


[transitive] British English informal to sell a product, especially a lot of it:
The store shifted over 1,000 copies of the book last week.

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