verb (used with object)
to put (something) aside and replace it by another or others; change or exchange: to shift friends; to shift ideas.
to transfer from one place, position, person, etc., to another: to shift the blame onto someone else.
Automotive. to change (gears) from one ratio or arrangement to another.
Linguistics. to change in a systematic way, especially phonetically.
verb (used without object)
to move from one place, position, direction, etc., to another.
to manage to get along or succeed by oneself.
to get along by indirect methods; use any expediency, trick, or evasion to get along or succeed: He shifted through life.
to change gears in driving an automobile.
Linguistics. to undergo a systematic, especially phonetic, change.
to press a shift key, as on a typewriter keyboard.
Archaic. to change one's clothes.
a change or transfer from one place, position, direction, person, etc., to another: a shift in the wind.
a person's scheduled period of work, especially the portion of the day scheduled as a day's work when a shop, service, office, or industry operates continuously during both the day and night: She prefers the morning shift.
a group of workers scheduled to work during such a period: The night shift reported.
Baseball. a notable repositioning by several fielders to the left or the right of their normal playing position, an occasional strategy against batters who usually hit the ball to the same side of the field.
Automotive. a gearshift.
a straight, loose-fitting dress worn with or without a belt.
a woman's chemise or slip.
Football. a lateral or backward movement from one position to another, usually by two or more offensive players just before the ball is put into play.
Mining. a dislocation of a seam or stratum; fault.
Music. a change in the position of the left hand on the fingerboard in playing a stringed instrument.
a change or system of parallel changes that affects the sound structure of a language, as the series of related changes in the English vowel system from Middle English to Modern English.
a change in the meaning or use of a word. Compare functional shift.
an expedient; ingenious device.
an evasion, artifice, or trick.
change or substitution.
Bridge. shift bid.
any of successive crops.
the tract of land used.
an act or instance of using the shift key, as on a typewriter keyboard.
shift gears. gear ( def 19 ).

before 1000; (v.) Middle English shiften to arrange, Old English sciftan; cognate with German schichten to arrange in order, Old Norse skipta to divide; (noun) Middle English: contrivance, start, derivative of the v.

shiftingly, adverb
shiftingness, noun
intershifting, adjective
reshift, verb
transshift, verb
unshifting, adjective

shift, shrift.

1. substitute. 22. contrivance, resource, resort. 23. wile, ruse, subterfuge, stratagem. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
shift (ʃɪft)
1.  to move or cause to move from one place or position to another
2.  (tr) to change for another or others
3.  to change (gear) in a motor vehicle
4.  (intr) (of a sound or set of sounds) to alter in a systematic way
5.  (intr) to provide for one's needs (esp in the phrase shift for oneself)
6.  (intr) to proceed by indirect or evasive methods
7.  to remove or be removed, esp with difficulty: no detergent can shift these stains
8.  slang (intr) to move quickly
9.  (tr) computing to move (bits held in a store location) to the left or right
10.  the act or an instance of shifting
11.  a group of workers who work for a specific period
12.  the period of time worked by such a group
13.  an expedient, contrivance, or artifice
14.  the displacement of rocks, esp layers or seams in mining, at a geological fault
15.  an underskirt or dress with little shaping
[Old English sciftan; related to Old Norse skipta to divide, Middle Low German schiften, to separate]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. sciftan "arrange, divide," related to sceadan "divide, separate" (see shed (v.)), from P.Gmc. *skiftanan (cf. O.N. skipta "to divide, change, separate," O.Fris. skifta "to decide, determine, test," Du. schiften "to divide, turn," Ger. schichten "to classify," Schicht "shift").
Sense of "change" appeared mid-13c.; that of "move, transfer" is late 14c.; that of "manage to get along" is first attested 1510s, in phrase shift for oneself, and yielded shiftless in the modern sense (1580s).

c.1300, "a movement, a beginning," from shift (v.). This is the sense in to make shift "make efforts" (c.1460). Meaning "period of working time" (originally in a mine) is attested from 1809, perhaps influenced by a N.Sea Gmc. cognate word (e.g. N.Fris. skeft "division, stratum,"
skaft "one of successive parties of workmen"). Similar double senses of "division" and "relay of workers" exist in Swed. skift, Ger. schicht. Meaning "mechanism for changing gear in a motor vehicle" is recorded from 1914. Typewriter shift-lock is from 1899.

"body garment, underclothing," 1598, originally used of both men's and women's. In 17c., it began to be used as a euphemism for smock, and was itself displaced, for similar reasons of delicacy, in 19c. by chemise.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

shift (shĭft)
v. shift·ed, shift·ing, shifts

  1. To move or transfer from one place or position to another.

  2. To alter position or place.

  3. To exchange one thing for another of the same type or class.

  1. A change from one person or configuration to another; a substitution.

  2. A change in position.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Computing Dictionary

SHIFT definition

Scalable Heterogeneous Integrated Facility Testbed. A parallel processing project at CERN.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Example sentences
The sudden movement along the fault causes the ground to move forward and
  backward, heave up and down, or shift from side to side.
For many students, though, it's a major culture shift from what's familiar to
  them about math.
Our value priorities shift from personal gain, to a broader focus on community
  and connection with others.
Size is important because with climate change the vegetation zones will shift.
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