I. shift shift 1 [ʆɪft] noun [countable]
1. HUMAN RESOURCES one of the set periods of time during each day and night when a group of workers in a factory etc are at work before being replaced by another group of workers:

• She works an eight-hour shift.

• Are you on the day shift or the night shift?

a shift in a factory from 3 or 4 o'clock in the afternoon until 12 o'clock at night
ˈgraveyard shift informal HUMAN RESOURCES
a regular period of time that people work during the night:

• To support his family, Frank found temporary work on the graveyard shift at a local tool company.

ˈsplit shift HUMAN RESOURCES
a shift that is divided into two or more parts on the same day:

• Catering assistants work split shifts (7-10 am, 4-7 pm) to cover breakfasts and evening meals.

ˈswing shift HUMAN RESOURCES
a shift in a factory from 3 or 4 o'clock in the afternoon until 12 o'clock at night
2. HUMAN RESOURCES the group of workers who work shifts:

• The night shift was just about to go off duty.

3. a change in the way people think about something, in the way something is done etc:
swing shift in

• The best way to measure shifts in a country's exchange rate is to use its trade-weighted exchange rate.

swing shift from/​to

• the shift from private to institutional shareholders

• The shift to larger out-of-town sites has influenced consumer spending patterns.

ˈparadigm ˌshift
a complete change in your attitude towards the economy or a particular industry, caused by an event or discovery that has changed your way of thinking:

• The use of gigabit networks has enabled a major paradigm shift to image-based communication.

4. COMPUTING the shift key on a computer keyboard that you press to print a capital letter
  [m0] II. shift shift 2 verb [transitive] COMMERCE
to move or sell something:

• This deal is the key to shifting about A$3 billion of debt off the balance sheet.

• We shifted 10,000 units last week.

* * *

shift UK US /ʃɪft/ verb
[T] to move something to a different place or position: shift sth to sth »

They shifted the money to another account.

shift sth out of sth »

Rising costs forced them to shift manufacturing work out of Europe.

[I or T] to change an opinion, idea, etc.: »

shift focus/emphasis/attention

shift (sth) away from sth »

They have shifted the emphasis of the business away from traditional manufacturing.

shift (sth) towards sth »

The company has shifted towards a more flexible marketing mix.


HR have shifted their position on overtime working and this will no longer be encouraged.

[T] INFORMAL COMMERCE to manage to sell goods: »

At that time, Sony had shifted 30 million Playstation3 consoles since launch.


The sales projections were over-optimistic and left them with $100 million of stock they couldn't shift.

shift UK US /ʃɪft/ noun
[C] HR, WORKPLACE an agreed period of time during the day or night when particular employees work, in a factory, hospital, etc.: »

He worked an 8 hour shift at the hospital.

begin/end your shift »

They begin their shift at 4pm.

[C] HR, WORKPLACE the group of workers who work at a particular time: the day/night/late shift »

We work until 8am, when the day shift takes over.

[C, usually singular] a movement or change in something: a shift in sth »

There's been a major shift in strategy.

a shift away from/towards sth »

The shift towards specialisation favours smaller firms.

[U] IT on a computer keyboard, a key that changes the letter, number, or symbol that would normally appear when you press another key at the same time: »

Press shift to capitalize letters.

See also BACK SHIFT(Cf. ↑back shift), GRAVEYARD SHIFT(Cf. ↑graveyard shift), NIGHT SHIFT(Cf. ↑night shift), PARADIGM SHIFT(Cf. ↑paradigm shift), SWING SHIFT(Cf. ↑swing shift)

Financial and business terms. 2012.

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