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shift key

a typewriter key that determines whether characters are printed in upper or lower case and controls the printing of numbers and symbols.
Computers. a key that performs the same functions as on a typewriter keyboard and also controls other functions, depending on the program:
To print a file, depress the shift key and a function key.
Origin of shift key
1900-05 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for shift-key
Historical Examples
  • Edwards has favored the full key-board as being less of a drain upon the attention than the "shift-key" machine.

    The Fiction Factory John Milton Edwards
  • On the shift-key machine he must still struggle with the built-up exclamation point, the ditto quotes and the hyphen dash.

    The Fiction Factory John Milton Edwards
  • It is evident that both the shift-key arrangement and the double keyboard have their particular psychological advantages.

British Dictionary definitions for shift-key

shift key

a key on a typewriter or computer keyboard used to type capital letters and certain numbers and symbols
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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