make shift

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See also: makeshift and make-shift

English[edit]

Verb[edit]

make shift (third-person singular simple present makes shift, present participle making shift, simple past and past participle made shift)

  1. (dated) To contrive; to invent a way of surmounting a difficulty
    • 1596, William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice:
      Nerissa: How like you the young German, the Duke of Saxony's nephew?
      Portia: Very vilely in the morning, when he is sober, and most vilely in the afternoon, when he is drunk: when he is best, he is a little worse than a man, and when he is worst, he is little better than a beast: and the worst fall that ever fell, I hope I shall make shift to go without him.
    • 1773, Oliver Goldsmith, She Stoops to Conquer:
      Ecod, I thank your worship, I'll make a shift to stay my stomach with a slice of cold beef in the pantry.
    • 1854, Henry David Thoreau, Walden, chapter 1:
      The success of great scholars and thinkers is commonly a courtier-like success, not kingly, not manly. They make shift to live merely by conformity, practically as their fathers did, and are in no sense the progenitors of a noble race of men.
    • 1872, Mark Twain, Roughing It, chapter 32:
      We could find no matches, and so we tried to make shift with the pistols.
    • 1905, Robert Louis Stevenson, The Art of Writing:
      I was unable to handle a brig (which the Hispaniola should have been), but I thought I could make shift to sail her as a schooner without public shame.
    • 1922, John Buchan, Huntingtower, chapter 14:
      The military historian must often make shift to write of battles with slender data, but he can pad out his deficiencies by learned parallels.

Usage notes[edit]

Often followed by various prepositions, including with and without [an item], by [doing something], and for [the replaced item or action]. The older construction followed by an infinitive verb is now obsolete or historic.

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Adjective[edit]

make shift (comparative more make shift, superlative most make shift)

  1. Alternative form of makeshift.
    • 2010, William Campbell, More Short Stories by Boothill Will, page 182:
      Bill saw the road as an advantage for him, but he still didn't like the fact that he was seeing more and more make shift camps preparing to build permanent homes for the settling, unwanted new comers.

Noun[edit]

make shift (plural make shifts)

  1. Alternative form of makeshift.
    • 1818 March 3, "Philo Britannicus", "Sketches from Real Life", The White Dwarf, Number 17, page 270:
      In a room not more than twelve feet square, were four miserable beds: the make shift, as mine host of the tape shop called it, was a singular contrivance; it was a long deal table, with a broomstick tied to each corner, rising about a foot from the surface of the table, with a cord communicating from the point of each, to form a kind of barrier for the bed, which was placed within them.