shift / shift/ • v. move or cause to move from one place to another, esp. over a small distance: [tr.] I shift the weight back to the other leg | [intr.] the roof cracked and shifted. ∎ [intr.] change the position of one's body, esp. because one is nervous or uncomfortable: he shifted a little in his chair. ∎ [tr.] change the emphasis, direction, or focus of: she's shifting the blame onto me. ∎ [intr.] change in emphasis, direction, or focus: the wind had shifted to the east the balance of power shifted abruptly. ∎ [tr.] Comput. move (data) one or more places to the right or left in a register: the partial remainder is shifted left. ∎ [intr.] press the shift key on a typewriter or computer keyboard. ∎ [tr.] inf. sell (something): a lot of high-priced product you simply don't know how to shift. ∎ [intr.] change gear in a vehicle: she shifted down to fourth. ∎ [intr.] archaic be evasive or indirect: they know not how to shift and rob as the old ones do.• n. 1. a slight change in position, direction, or tendency: a shift of wind took us by surprise a shift in public opinion. ∎ Astron. the displacement of spectral lines. See also redshift. ∎ (also shift key) a key on a typewriter or computer keyboard used to switch between two sets of characters or functions, principally between lower- and upper-case letters. ∎ short for sound shift. ∎ the gearshift or gear-changing mechanism in a motor vehicle. ∎ Building the positioning of successive rows of bricks so that their ends do not coincide. ∎ Comput. a movement of the digits of a word in a register one or more places to left or right, equivalent to multiplying or dividing the corresponding number by a power of whatever number is the base. ∎ Football a change of position by two or more players before the ball is put into play.2. one of two or more recurring periods in which different groups of workers do the same jobs in relay: the night shift. ∎ a group of workers who work in this way.3. (also shift dress) a woman's straight, unwaisted dress. ∎ hist. a long, loose-fitting undergarment.4. archaic an ingenious or devious device or stratagem: the thousand shifts and devices of which Hannibal was a master.PHRASES: make shift do what one wants to do in spite of not having ideal conditions.shift for oneself manage as best one can without help.shift one's ground say or write something that contradicts something one has previously written or said.shifting sands something that is constantly changing, esp. unpredictably: whether something is accepted depends upon the shifting sands of taste.DERIVATIVES: shift·a·ble / ˈshiftəbəl/ adj.
1. To change the interpretation of characters. The term is commonly met on normal typewriters as a change from lower to upper case.
2. Any complete set of characters obtainable without shifting. Hence change shift is a synonym for shift (def. 1).
3. The movement of a bit pattern in a bit string. A left shift of m (<n) bits will move the bit pattern in a string b1b2…bn
leftward, giving bm+1…bn?…?
Similarly, a right shift of m bits converts b1b2…bn to ?…?b1b2…bn–m
The bits that are introduced (shown here as question marks) and the use of the bits that are shifted off the end of the string depend on the kind of shift: arithmetic, logical, or circular. In an arithmetic shift the bit strings are regarded as representations of binary integers; if the leading m bits that are lost are all zero, a left shift of m bits is equivalent to multiplication by 2m and a right shift can be interpreted as integer division by 2m. In logical shifts the bits introduced are all zero. In circular shifts the bits shifted off at one end are introduced at the other.
A. †arrange OE.;
B. change XIII;
C. alter the position of XIV. OE. sċiftan = MLG. schiften, schichten, MHG. schihten (G. schichten), ON. skipta divide, separate, change, f. base *skip- as in ON. skipa arrange, assign.
Hence shift sb. A. expedient, contrivance, evasion; B. †change; (spec.) of clothing; (esp.) woman's chemise XVI; C. change of position, removal XVIII. Hence shifty (-Y1) XVI.
you cannot shift an old tree without it dying proverbial saying, early 16th century; often used to suggest the risk involved in moving an elderly person who has lived in the same place for many years.