Meaning of “shift” in the English Dictionary

"shift" in British English

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uk /ʃɪft/ us /ʃɪft/

shift verb (MOVE/CHANGE)

C1 [ I or T ] to (cause something or someone to) move or change from one position or direction to another, especially slightly:

She shifted (her weight) uneasily from one foot to the other.
The wind is expected to shift (to the east) tomorrow.

C1 [ I ] (of an idea, opinion, etc.) to change:

Society's attitudes towards women have shifted enormously over the last century.
Media attention has shifted recently onto environmental issues.

[ T ] mainly US UK usually change to move the gears of a vehicle into different positions in order to make it go faster or slower:

In cars that are automatics, you don't have to bother with shifting gears.
shift house

Indian English to leave your home in order to live in a new one; move house

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uk /ʃɪft/ us /ʃɪft/

shift noun (GROUP)

B2 [ C, + sing/pl verb ] a group of workers who do a job for a period of time during the day or night, or the period of time itself:

As the night shift leave/leaves, the day shift arrive/arrives.
Are you on the night shift or the day shift? (= Do you work during the night period or the day period?)

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shift noun (CHANGE)

C1 [ C ] a change in position or direction:

a shift in the wind/temperature
The shift in the balance of power in the region has had far-reaching consequences.
There has been a dramatic shift in public opinion towards peaceful negotiations.

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(Definition of “shift” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"shift" in American English

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shiftverb [ I/T ]

us /ʃɪft/

shift verb [ I/T ] (MOVE OR CHANGE)

to change direction or move from one person, position, or place to another:

[ I ] The wind shifted to the east.
[ T ] She shifted her weight from one foot to the other.
[ T ] He tried to shift the blame onto his sister.

If you shift your emphasis or attitude, you change it:

[ T ] Our attention has shifted from baseball to the election.

When you shift the gears of a vehicle, you move them into different positions to change the speed of the vehicle.


shiftnoun [ C ]

us /ʃɪft/

shift noun [ C ] (PERIOD)

the period that a person is scheduled to work, or a group of workers who work during the same period of time:

I’m working the day shift this month.
The night shift is finished at 7 a.m.

shift noun [ C ] (MOVE OR CHANGE)

a change in position or direction:

There’s been a substantial shift in doctorsmethods.

(Definition of “shift” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"shift" in Business English

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uk /ʃɪft/ us

[ T ] to move something to a different place or position:

shift sth to sth They shifted the money to another account.
shift sth out of sth Rising costs forced them to shift manufacturing work out of Europe.

[ I or T ] to change an opinion, idea, etc.:

shift focus/emphasis/attention
shift (sth) away from sth They have shifted the emphasis of the business away from traditional manufacturing.
shift (sth) towards sth The company has shifted towards a more flexible marketing mix.
HR have shifted their position on overtime working and this will no longer be encouraged.

[ T ] informal COMMERCE to manage to sell goods:

At that time, Sony had shifted 30 million Playstation3 consoles since launch.
The sales projections were over-optimistic and left them with $100 million of stock they couldn't shift.


uk /ʃɪft/ us

[ C ] HR, WORKPLACE an agreed period of time during the day or night when particular employees work, in a factory, hospital, etc.:

He worked an 8 hour shift at the hospital.
begin/end your shift They begin their shift at 4pm.

[ C ] HR, WORKPLACE the group of workers who work at a particular time:

the day/night/late shift We work until 8am, when the day shift takes over.

[ C, usually singular ] a movement or change in something:

a shift in sth There's been a major shift in strategy.
a shift away from/towards sth The shift towards specialisation favours smaller firms.

[ U ] IT on a computer keyboard, a key that changes the letter, number, or symbol that would normally appear when you press another key at the same time:

Press shift to capitalize letters.

(Definition of “shift” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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