General English

General Science

  • verb to change from one character set to another, allowing other characters such as capitals to be used


Cars & Driving

  • verb to change gear


  • verb to move a bit or word of data left or right by a certain amount, usually one bit


  • The lateral movement of a faulted seam.


  • To move from one place to another, or from one position to another. Also, such a shift.
  • The movement of one or more characters or words by a given number of positions to the left or right within a register or memory location. Such a shift may result in a loss of characters or data.


  • noun a way of working in which one group of workers work for a period and are then replaced by another group


  • verb (to have) sexual intercourse. The usage was explained to a British audience by the stand-up comedian Jo Brand in her 1995 TV show.


  • noun a group of employees who work for a period, and then are replaced by another group, or a period of time worked by a group of employees

Origin & History of “shift”

Old English sciftan meant ‘arrange’ (it came from a prehistoric Germanic base *skip-, which also produced German schichten ‘arrange in layers, pile up’, and traces of its original meaning survive in make-shift (16th c.), denoting something arranged or contrived for lack of anything better). Its modern meaning ‘move’ emerged in the 14th century, via an intermediate ‘change’. The notion of ‘change’ underlies the use of the noun shift for ‘woman’s slip’, which evolved from an earlier ‘change of clothing’, and also its use for a ‘particular working period’, marked by a ‘change’ of workers at beginning and end.