1. To divide; to distribute. [Obs.]
Some this, some that, as that him liketh shift.Chaucer.
2. To make a change or changes; to change position; to move; to veer; to substitute one thing for another;
used in the various senses of the transitive verb.
The sixth age shiftsShak.
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon.
Here the Baillie shifted and fidgeted about in his seat.Sir W. Scott.
3. To resort to expedients for accomplishing a purpose; to contrive; to manage.
Men in distress will look to themselves, and leave their companions to shift as well as they can.L'Estrange.
4. To practice indirect or evasive methods.
All those schoolmen, though they were exceeding witty, yet better teach all their followers to shift, than
to resolve by their distinctions.Sir W. Raleigh.
5. (Naut.) To slip to one side of a ship, so as to destroy the equilibrum; said of ballast or cargo; as,
the cargo shifted.
(Shift) n. [Cf. Icel skipti. See Shift, v. t.]
1. The act of shifting. Specifically: (a) The act of putting one thing in the place of another, or of changing
the place of a thing; change; substitution.
My going to Oxford was not merely for shift of air.Sir H. Wotton.
(b) A turning from one thing to another; hence, an expedient tried in difficulty; often, an evasion; a trick; a
fraud. "Reduced to pitiable shifts." Macaulay.
I 'll find a thousand shifts to get away.Shak.
Little souls on little shifts rely.Dryden.
2. Something frequently shifted; especially, a woman's under-garment; a chemise.
3. The change of one set of workmen for another; hence, a spell, or turn, of work; also, a set of workmen
who work in turn with other sets; as, a night shift.
4. In building, the extent, or arrangement, of the overlapping of plank, brick, stones, etc., that are placed
in courses so as to break joints.
5. (Mining) A breaking off and dislocation of a seam; a fault.
6. (Mus.) A change of the position of the hand on the finger board, in playing the violin.
To make shift, to contrive or manage in an exigency. "I shall make shift to go without him." Shak.
[They] made a shift to keep their own in Ireland.Milton.
(Shift"a*ble) a. Admitting of being shifted.