Last modified on 17 July 2014, at 17:57

shift

See also: Shift

EnglishEdit

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EtymologyEdit

From Middle English schiften, from Old English sciftan (to divide, separate into shares; appoint, ordain; arrange, organise), from Proto-Germanic *skiftijaną, *skiptijaną, for earlier *skipatjaną (to organise, put in order), from Proto-Indo-European *skeyb- (to separate, divide, part), from Proto-Indo-European *skēy- (to cut, divide, separate, part). Cognate with Scots schift, skift (to shift), West Frisian skifte, skiftsje (to sort), Dutch schiften (to sort, screen, winnow, part), German schichten (to stack, layer), Swedish skifta (to shift, change, exchange, vary), Norwegian skifte (to shift), Icelandic skipta (to switch).

PronunciationEdit

VerbEdit

shift (third-person singular simple present shifts, present participle shifting, simple past and past participle shifted)

  1. (transitive) To change, swap.
    • 2012 March 1, William E. Carter, Merri Sue Carter, “The British Longitude Act Reconsidered”, American Scientist, volume 100, number 2, page 87: 
      But was it responsible governance to pass the Longitude Act without other efforts to protect British seamen? Or might it have been subterfuge—a disingenuous attempt to shift attention away from the realities of their life at sea.
  2. (transitive) To move from one place to another; to redistribute.
    • 2013 June 22, “T time”, The Economist, volume 407, number 8841, page 68: 
      The ability to shift profits to low-tax countries by locating intellectual property in them, which is then licensed to related businesses in high-tax countries, is often assumed to be the preserve of high-tech companies. […] current tax rules make it easy for all sorts of firms to generate […] “stateless income”: profit subject to tax in a jurisdiction that is neither the location of the factors of production that generate the income nor where the parent firm is domiciled.
    We'll have to shift these boxes to the downtown office.
  3. (intransitive) To change position.
    She shifted slightly in her seat.
    His political stance shifted daily.
  4. (obsolete, transitive) To change (one's clothes); also to change (someone's) underclothes.
    • 1621, Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, II.ii.2:
      'Tis very good to wash his hands and face often, to shift his clothes, to have fair linen about him, to be decently and comely attired []
    • Shakespeare
      As it were to ride day and night; and [] not to have patience to shift me.
  5. (intransitive) To change gears (in a car).
    I crested the hill and shifted into fifth.
  6. (typewriters) To move the keys of a typewriter over in order to type capital letters and special characters.
  7. (computer keyboards) To switch to a character entry mode for capital letters and special characters.
  8. (transitive, computing) To manipulate a binary number by moving all of its digits left or right; compare rotate.
    Shifting 1001 to the left yields 10010; shifting it right yields 100.
  9. (transitive, computing) To remove the first value from an array.
  10. (transitive) To dispose of.
    How can I shift a grass stain?
  11. (intransitive) To hurry.
    If you shift, you might make the 2:19.
  12. (Ireland, vulgar, slang) To engage in sexual petting.
  13. To resort to expedients for accomplishing a purpose; to contrive; to manage.
    • L'Estrange
      Men in distress will look to themselves, and leave their companions to shift as well as they can.
  14. To practice indirect or evasive methods.
    • Sir Walter Raleigh
      All those schoolmen, though they were exceeding witty, yet better teach all their followers to shift, than to resolve by their distinctions.

TranslationsEdit

NounEdit

shift (plural shifts)

  1. (historical) a type of women's undergarment, a slip
    Just last week she bought a new shift at the market.
  2. 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. an act of shifting; a slight movement or change
    • Sir H. Wotton
      My going to Oxford was not merely for shift of air.
    There was a shift in the political atmosphere.
  4. (US) the gear mechanism in a motor vehicle
    Does it come with a stick-shift?
  5. Alternative spelling of Shift (the modifier button of computer keyboards).
    If you press shift-P, the preview display will change.
  6. (computing) a bit shift
  7. (baseball) The infield shift.
    Teams often use the shift against this lefty.
  8. (Ireland, crude slang, often with the definite article, usually uncountable) The act of sexual petting.
  9. (archaic) A contrivance, device to try when other methods fail
    • 1596, Shakespeare, History of King John
      If I get down, and do not break my limbs,
      I'll find a thousand shifts to get away:
      As good to die and go, as die and stay.
  10. (archaic) a trick, an artifice
    • 1593, Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew
      And if the boy have not a woman's gift
      To rain a shower of commanded tears,
      An onion will do well for such a shift
    • Macaulay
      Reduced to pitiable shifts.
    • Shakespeare
      I'll find a thousand shifts to get away.
    • Dryden
      Little souls on little shifts rely.
  11. 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. (mining) A breaking off and dislocation of a seam; a fault.

Derived termsEdit

TranslationsEdit