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shift

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verb shift pronunciation in British English /ʃɪft/ 
Word Forms
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present tense
I/you/we/theyshift
he/she/itshifts
present participleshifting
past tenseshifted
past participleshifted
  1. 1
    [intransitive/transitive] if an idea, attitude, or plan shifts, or if someone shifts it, it changes

    Public opinion had shifted sharply to the left following the war.

    shift your ground:

    Most newspapers have shifted their ground considerably on this issue.

    shift attention/focus/emphasis:

    The government has shifted its attention away from the fight against crime.

    Britain's focus is shifting back towards its old partners in Europe.

    Synonyms and related words for this sense of shift
    Synonyms and related words for this sense of shift
    1. a.
      to change from one gear to another when you are driving a car

      She shifted smoothly into third gear as we went into the bend.

    2. b.
      to make someone or something else responsible for something, especially when this is unfair
      shift blame/responsibility:

      They want to shift the blame for rising unemployment onto the recession.

  2. 2
    [intransitive/transitive] to move your body or a part of your body slightly, for example because you are bored

    The children are shifting uncomfortably in their seats.

    shift your weight:

    Martha shifted her weight from foot to foot.

    Synonyms and related words for this sense of shift
    1. a.
      [transitive] British informal to move an object from one place to another

      We'll need to shift this table over to the wall.

      Synonyms and related words for this sense of shift
    2. b.
      [intransitive/transitive] if things such as land or buildings shift, or if something shifts them, they move slightly

      The wall is shifting a couple of inches every year.

      Synonyms and related words for this sense of shift
    3. c.
      [intransitive/transitive] to move your eyes in order to look at something else
      shift your eyes/gaze:

      She stared at him, then shifted her gaze to the suitcase on the bed.

      Synonyms and related words for this sense of shift
  3. 3
    [transitive] British informal to get rid of something

    None of the medicines I've taken have shifted this cold.

    There's still a stain on the carpet that I can't shift.

    1. a.
      informal to sell something

      The supermarkets shift more wine in a weekend than we do all year.

      Synonyms and related words for this sense of shift
  4. 4
    [intransitive] computing to press the shift key on a computer keyboard

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