Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

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

shift

1 verb
     
Related topics: Motor Vehicles
shift1 W3
1

move

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.
2

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.
3

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).
4

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.
5

costs/spending

[transitive always + adverb/preposition]BF to change the way that money is paid or spent:
the need to shift more resources towards reducing poverty
6

dirt/marks

[transitive] British English to remove dirt or marks from a surface or piece of clothing:
a new washing powder that will shift any stain
7

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.
8

sell

[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.

Dictionary pictures of the day
Do you know what each of these is called?
What is the word for picture 1? What is the word for picture 2? What is the word for picture 3? What is the word for picture 4?
Click on any of the pictures above to find out what it is called.

Explore our topic dictionary