- [mass noun] Astronomy the displacement of spectral lines. See also red shift.
- short for sound shift.
Old English sciftan 'arrange, divide, apportion', of Germanic origin; related to German schichten 'to layer, stratify'. A common Middle English sense 'change, replace' gave rise to sense 3 of the noun (via the notion of changing one's clothes) and sense 2 of the noun (via the concept of relays of workers)