down + shift
downshift (third-person singular simple present downshifts, present participle downshifting, simple past and past participle downshifted)
- (automotive) To shift a transmission into a lower gear.
- Antonym: upshift
- To function at a lower rate.
- To make less controversial or risky.
2019 August 14, A. A. Dowd, “Good Boys puts a tween spin on the R-rated teen comedy, to mostly funny effect”, in The A.V. Club:
in this variation on Superbad’s wild night of transgression, downshifting the age of the protagonists from teen to tween actually only enhances the stealth, wide-eyed innocence that secretly drives this genre of pre-college hedonism.
shift a transmission into a lower gear