shift

Shift the verb and shift the noun are very similar in meaning. A shift is a change in something or an adjustment in the way something is done. You can either make a shift (that's the noun), or you can just shift (that's the verb).

What makes a shift different from, say, a change is that it implies some kind of movement; a sense that the thing that you're shifting is still the same thing, just moving in a different direction. For example, when you shift gears in a car you're simply moving from one gear to another. If you shift your focus, you're still focused, but the focus has moved. If the government shifts its policy, that policy, while different, is still a policy.

Definitions of shift
  1. verb
    move very slightly
    “He shifted in his seat”
    synonyms: agitate, budge, stir
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    type of:
    move
    move so as to change position, perform a nontranslational motion
  2. verb
    move sideways or in an unsteady way
    synonyms: careen, tilt, wobble
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    type of:
    move
    move so as to change position, perform a nontranslational motion
  3. verb
    move abruptly
    synonyms: lurch, pitch
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    type of:
    move
    move so as to change position, perform a nontranslational motion
  4. verb
    change place or direction
    Shift one's position”
    synonyms: dislodge, reposition
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    types:
    beat down
    dislodge from a position
    type of:
    displace, move
    cause to move or shift into a new position or place, both in a concrete and in an abstract sense
  5. verb
    move around
    synonyms: transfer
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    types:
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    transpose
    transfer a quantity from one side of an equation to the other side reversing its sign, in order to maintain equality
    shunt
    transfer to another track, of trains
    carry
    transfer (a number, cipher, or remainder) to the next column or unit's place before or after, in addition or multiplication
    shuffle
    move about, move back and forth
    transship
    transfer for further transportation from one ship or conveyance to another
    bunker
    transfer cargo from a ship to a warehouse
    carry forward, carry over
    transfer from one time period to the next
    remove, transfer
    shift the position or location of, as for business, legal, educational, or military purposes
    translocate
    transfer (a chromosomal segment) to a new position
    type of:
    displace, move
    cause to move or shift into a new position or place, both in a concrete and in an abstract sense
  6. verb
    change in quality
    “His tone shifted
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    type of:
    change
    undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one's or its original nature
  7. verb
    move and exchange for another
    shift the date for our class reunion”
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    type of:
    exchange, interchange, replace, substitute
    put in the place of another; switch seemingly equivalent items
  8. verb
    lay aside, abandon, or leave for another
    synonyms: change, switch
    change, commute, convert, exchange
    exchange or replace with another, usually of the same kind or category
    change
    change clothes; put on different clothes
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    types:
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    transition
    make or undergo a transition (from one state or system to another)
    break
    change suddenly from one tone quality or register to another
    channel-surf, surf
    switch channels, on television
    jump, leap
    pass abruptly from one state or topic to another
    diphthongise, diphthongize
    change from a simple vowel to a diphthong
    cut
    make an abrupt change of image or sound
    break
    change directions suddenly
    break
    undergo breaking
    cut away
    move quickly to another scene or focus when filming
  9. verb
    move from one setting or context to another
    shift the emphasis”
    shift one's attention”
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    types:
    transfer, transplant, transpose
    transfer from one place or period to another
    type of:
    alter, change, modify
    cause to change; make different; cause a transformation
  10. verb
    make a shift in or exchange of
    synonyms: change over, switch
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    types:
    back
    shift to a counterclockwise direction
    veer
    shift to a clockwise direction
    type of:
    alter, change, modify
    cause to change; make different; cause a transformation
  11. verb
    change phonetically as part of a systematic historical change
    “Grimm showed how the consonants shifted
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    type of:
    change
    undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one's or its original nature
  12. verb
    change gears
    “you have to shift when you go down a steep hill”
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    type of:
    change, switch
    lay aside, abandon, or leave for another
  13. noun
    the act of moving from one place to another
    synonyms: shifting
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    type of:
    motion, move, movement
    the act of changing location from one place to another
  14. noun
    the act of changing one thing or position for another
    synonyms: switch, switching
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    types:
    switcheroo
    a sudden unexpected switch
    type of:
    change
    the action of changing something
  15. noun
    a qualitative change
    synonyms: transformation, transmutation
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    types:
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    advance, betterment, improvement
    a change for the better; progress in development
    population shift
    a change in the relative numbers of the different groups of individuals making up a population
    pyrolysis
    transformation of a substance produced by the action of heat
    sea change
    a profound transformation
    sublimation
    (chemistry) a change directly from the solid to the gaseous state without becoming liquid
    tin disease, tin pest, tin plague
    the transformation of ordinary white tin into powdery grey tin at very cold temperatures
    changeover, conversion, transition
    an event that results in a transformation
    degeneration, retrogression
    passing from a more complex to a simpler biological form
    strengthening
    becoming stronger
    weakening
    becoming weaker
    renaissance, resurgence, revitalisation, revitalization, revival, revivification
    bringing again into activity and prominence
    debilitation, enervation, enfeeblement, exhaustion
    serious weakening and loss of energy
    elaboration, refinement
    the result of improving something
    accommodation, adjustment, fitting
    making or becoming suitable; adjusting to circumstances
    glycogenesis
    the conversion of glucose to glycogen when the glucose in the blood exceeds the demand
    isomerisation, isomerization
    the conversion of a compound into an isomer of itself
    rectification
    the conversion of alternating current to direct current
    conservation, preservation
    an occurrence of improvement by virtue of preventing loss or injury or other change
    recovery
    return to an original state
    atrophy, withering
    any weakening or degeneration (especially through lack of use)
    attenuation, fading
    weakening in force or intensity
    downfall, fall
    a sudden decline in strength or number or importance
    abiotrophy
    a loss of vitality and a degeneration of cells and tissues not due to any apparent injury
    cataplasia
    (biology) degenerative reversion of cells or tissue to a less differentiated or more primitive form
    loosening, relaxation, slackening
    an occurrence of control or strength weakening
    type of:
    alteration, change, modification
    an event that occurs when something passes from one state or phase to another
  16. noun
    an event in which something is displaced without rotation
    synonyms: displacement
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    types:
    amplitude
    (physics) the maximum displacement of a periodic wave
    luxation
    displacement or misalignment of a joint or organ
    subluxation
    partial displacement of a joint or organ
    type of:
    translation
    a uniform movement without rotation
  17. noun
    (geology) a crack in the earth's crust resulting from the displacement of one side with respect to the other
    synonyms: break, fault, faulting, fracture, geological fault
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    examples:
    Denali Fault
    a major open geological fault in Alaska
    San Andreas Fault
    a major geological fault in California; runs from San Diego to San Francisco; the source of serious earthquakes
    types:
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    inclined fault
    a geological fault in which one side is above the other
    strike-slip fault
    a geological fault in which one of the adjacent surfaces appears to have moved horizontally
    common fault, gravity fault, normal fault
    an inclined fault in which the hanging wall appears to have slipped downward relative to the footwall
    overthrust fault, reverse fault, thrust fault
    a geological fault in which the upper side appears to have been pushed upward by compression
    type of:
    cleft, crack, crevice, fissure, scissure
    a long narrow opening
  18. verb
    use a shift key on a keyboard
    “She could not shift so all her letters are written in lower case”
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    type of:
    type, typewrite
    write by means of a keyboard with types
  19. noun
    the key on the typewriter keyboard that shifts from lower-case letters to upper-case letters
    synonyms: shift key
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    type of:
    key
    a lever (as in a keyboard) that actuates a mechanism when depressed
  20. noun
    the time period during which you are at work
    synonyms: duty period, work shift
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    types:
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    go, spell, tour, turn
    a time for working (after which you will be relieved by someone else)
    trick
    a period of work or duty
    watch
    a period of time (4 or 2 hours) during which some of a ship's crew are on duty
    day shift
    the work shift during the day (as 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
    evening shift, swing shift
    the work shift during the evening (as 4 p.m. to midnight)
    graveyard shift, night shift
    the work shift during the night (as midnight to 8 a.m.)
    split shift
    a working shift divided into two periods of time with several hours in between
    dogwatch
    either of two short watches: from 4-6 pm or 6-8 pm
    graveyard watch, middle watch, midwatch, night watch
    a watch during the night (as from midnight to 8 a.m.)
    type of:
    hours
    a period of time assigned for work
  21. noun
    a crew of workers who work for a specific period of time
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    types:
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    day shift, day watch
    workers who work during the day (as 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
    evening shift
    workers who work during the evening (as 4 p.m. to midnight)
    graveyard shift, night shift
    workers who work during the night (as midnight to 8 a.m.)
    relay
    a crew of workers who relieve another crew
    type of:
    crew, gang, work party
    an organized group of workmers
  22. noun
    a woman's sleeveless undergarment
    synonyms: chemise, shimmy, slip, teddy
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    type of:
    undergarment, unmentionable
    a garment worn under other garments
  23. noun
    a loose-fitting dress hanging straight from the shoulders without a waist
    synonyms: chemise, sack
    see moresee less
    type of:
    dress, frock
    a one-piece garment for a woman; has skirt and bodice
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