Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

shift - definition and synonyms

 
 
 
Close

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Close

Thesaurus

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

more
verb shift pronunciation in American English /ʃɪft/
Word Forms
Close
present tense
I/you/we/theyshift
he/she/itshifts
present participleshifting
past tenseshifted
past participleshifted
  1. 1
    [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
    1. a.
      if things such as land or buildings shift, or if something shifts them, they move slightly
      The wall is shifting a little bit every year.
      Synonyms and related words
    2. b.
      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.
  2. 2
    [intransitive/transitive] if an idea, attitude, or plan shifts, or if someone shifts it, it changes
    Public opinion had shifted sharply following the war.
    shift attention/focus/emphasis: The government has shifted its attention away from the fight against crime.
    Our focus is shifting back toward Asia.
    Synonyms and related words
    Synonyms and related words
    1. a.
      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. b.
      to change from one gear to another when you are driving a car
      She shifted smoothly into third gear.
  3. 3
    [intransitive] computing to press the shift key on a computer keyboard

phrase

JOMO

… a feeling of pleasure you get from spending time doing what you want and not worrying about what other people are doing or saying

BuzzWord Article

Word of the Day

Mardi Gras

shrove tuesday

Open Dictionary

brain fade

a temporary inability to think clearly or remember information

add a word

Blog

A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog