Share this entry

American English: /ʃɪft/
British English: /ʃɪft/

Translation of shift in Spanish:

transitive verb

  • 1 1.1 (change position of)
    to shift the scenery (Theater)
    cambiar el decorado
    the election has shifted the balance of power toward the right
    las elecciones han inclinado el equilibrio político hacia la derecha
    he keeps shifting his ground
    cambia constantemente de posición
    1.2 (transfer, switch) See examples: the war shifted attention away from domestic problems
    la guerra distrajo la atención de los problemas internos
    to shift resources from the public to the private sector
    traspasar or transferir recursos del sector público al privado
    they tried to shift the responsibility onto us
    trataron de cargarnos la responsabilidad
  • 2 (British English) [colloquial] 2.1 (move, remove) See examples: shift yourself, will you!
    ¡quítate de ahí!
    I can't shift this nail/cork
    este clavo/tapón no hay quien lo saque
    it's impossible to shift him now he's made up his mind
    ahora que se ha decidido, no hay quien lo haga cambiar de opinión
    2.2 (get rid of)
    quitarse de encima
    Example sentences
    • This Vanish stain remover can shift bolognaise sauce, tea, coffee, curry, blood, a little engine oil (like if you splash some by accident when you're topping up your car oil), and these are just a few stains of what it is good at getting rid of.
    • And she's not afraid to use it, regularly calling in with the solution to a hard-to-shift stain or to correct the advice of the on-air expert.
    • If soap and water doesn't shift the stain scrub the area with a nail-brush dipped in vinegar and salt.
  • 3 (sell)
    Example sentences
    • It's very important to finish the design phase before the end of this year (so that we can shift the product to the market at the beginning of next year).
    • I know that there is an element of advertising - my whisky must be good because there is a bottle in TWE at £10000! - but they must also want to shift some product.
    • We really did shift some stuff last weekend, didn't we?

intransitive verb

  • 1 1.1 (change position, direction)
    he shifted uneasily in his chair
    se movía intranquilo en la silla
    she shifted onto her back
    se puso boca arriba
    public opinion shifted in favor of disarmament
    la opinión pública se inclinó a favor del desarme
    the emphasis has shifted away from translation to speaking the language
    ahora se pone énfasis en hablar el idioma y no en traducirlo
    1.2 (switch, change over) See examples: the scene shifts and we are in a garden
    hay un cambio de escena y estamos en un jardín
    the focus of attention has shifted to Europe
    el foco de atención ha pasado a Europa
    also: shifting present participle
    shifting sands
    arenas (feminine plural) movedizas
    Example sentences
    • While all deaths on the roads are avoidable it seems that your campaign aims to shift the focus and blame away from motorcyclists and onto other road users.
    • The economic culture in particular was shifted significantly in the direction of enterprise.
    • We can expect to see a push for more of the tax burden to be shifted onto employers.
    Example sentences
    • After the system is docked, the nurse reassesses the patient's position to ensure that nothing moved or shifted during transfer.
    • So things are once again in a state of rearrangement in my humble apartment, getting shifted, moved around and reassigned.
    • And the aisle all the way to the door bustled with Adivasi vegetable vendors who squatted with their baskets shifting and moving till they found a comfort zone.
    Example sentences
    • I shifted uncomfortably in my position on a plastic covered sofa.
    • Brant shifted uncomfortably, obviously nervous about the gun still pointed directly at him and he began to lower his hands.
    • One would ordinarily shift from a physical position which grows increasingly uncomfortable, but the meditator does not.
    Example sentences
    • If the area is violent, the balance of power can shift in the opposite direction.
    • But even as the balance of power on the ground shifted in one direction, the balance of politics at home was shifting in the other.
    • The focus of his attention shifted abruptly to the moonlit scene before him.
  • 2 (British English) 2.1 (move) [colloquial]shift up/along a bit
    córrete un poco
    2.2 (budge) he won't shift from his position
    no va a cambiar su postura or posición
    Example sentences
    • I reckon that Old Shifty won't shift himself until there is absolutely no money left in the tea caddy where they keep the pension dosh.
    • Use focus to shift yourself to states of motivation, productivity or your goals.
    • You will understand how important it is to shift yourself
  • 3 (manage) See examples: to shift for oneself
    arreglárselas solo
  • 4 (change gear)
    (American English)
    cambiar de marcha or de velocidad
    Example sentences
    • To maintain the vehicle speed, she would have to shift into a lower gear.
    • Zaren pushed in the clutch and shifted to second gear and the car made a sudden leap in speed.
    • To shift into fourth gear, you push the button yet again.


  • 1 1.1 (change in position) a shift in the wind
    un cambio en la dirección del viento
    there was a shift in public opinion
    hubo un cambio or un viraje en la opinión pública
    a shift of attitude
    un cambio de actitud
    a major population shift
    un desplazamiento masivo de población
    a shift away from isolationism
    un alejamiento de la política aislacionista
    to make shift with/without something
    arreglárselas con/sin algo
    1.2 (Linguistics) vowel/consonant shift
    mutación (feminine) vocálica/consonántica
    Example sentences
    • Many of these ‘mistakes’ are easily-explained shifts in the sound system of spoken English.
    • But through prescribed borders, shifts in dialect coalesced into distinct languages.
    • The stories she listened to intrigued her with their form as well as their content, the myriad dialects, shifts, and cadences of African American voices.
    1.3 (Computing)
    Example sentences
    • I state that to multiply by 10 you use shifts to quickly multiply by 2 and 8 and then add the results.
    • At each time step from t=1 onwards, the right shift results in a state change which indicates a division by two operation.
    • Similarly, if we operate in reverse chronological order (i.e. from t=4 to t=1), the left shift will result in a multiplication by two.
    Example sentences
    • Change can be no more than a slight shift in direction - although, as when a tanker ship charts a new course, this may have dramatic long-term consequences.
    • The change in size also heralds a slight shift in editorial direction.
    • In my eyes a slight shift in the script would make the ending of the show seem a tad less grim.
  • 2 (work period) to work the day/night shift
    hacer el turno de día/de noche
    I work the early/late shift
    hago el primer/último turno
    to work (in) shifts
    trabajar por turnos
    (before noun) shift work/worker
    trabajo (masculine) /trabajador, (-dora) (masculine, feminine) por turnos
    Example sentences
    • I had been working overnight shifts with continuous periods of work with no real rest over a good 12 hours.
    • The chemical mixing section, which used to employ 50 people on four different shifts, will now be run by four contract workers.
    • They work different shifts; each commutes 60 miles a day.
  • 3 3.1 (undergarment) 3.2 (dress)
    vestido (masculine) suelto
    Example sentences
    • Today she is wearing a simple shift dress and no make-up and the sight of her looking so ordinary and conventional is indeed slightly shocking.
    • The suit had a matching knee length skirt, shell top and shift dress; with the chiffon blouses she already had they would do for several different outfits.
    • His masterpiece to date is his American Rose beaded V-neck shift dress, a combination of nine colours, which was a show-stopper at MAFW '04.
    Example sentences
    • She finally decided on a sky blue dress with a beige shift underneath.
    • She stripped down to her shift, putting her dress carefully in a corner, and progressed to the armoire.
    • She pulled a brightly coloured gown over her shift, tying it at the waist with a decorative sash.
  • 4
    (American English) (Cars)
    palanca (masculine) de cambio or (Mexico) de velocidades
    Example sentences
    • Smooth acceleration occurred whether you used the auto box, the paddle shift or the Tiptronic system.
    • I thought ForceFed's was a full sequential transmission with computer controlled clutch and all, not just a sequential gear shift.
    • All the sequential shifter does is convert the back and forth motion to move the two shifter rods in a standard H pattern gear shift.

Definition of shift in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources


    Next Score:
    Word of the day sarcasmo
    sarcasm …
    Cultural fact of the day


    Mezcal is an alcoholic drink similar to tequila obtained in Mexico by distilling the juice or aguamiel extracted from roasted tips of the maguey plant. Bottles of mezcal are usually sold containing a gusano, the larva of an insect that lives on the maguey. This is said to enhance the flavor.