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shift +‎ -er


shifter (plural shifters)

  1. One who, or that which, shifts or changes.
  2. (linguistics) A word whose meaning changes depending on the situation, as by deixis.
    • 1995, Richard Klein, “Introduction”, in Cigarettes are sublime, Paperback edition, Durham: Duke University Press, published 1993, →ISBN, →OCLC, page 9:
      The cigarette is analogous to what linguists call a shifter, like the word I ; this device for expressing the irreducible particularity of my innermost self is universally available to every speaker and is thus the least particular thing in the world. The smoker manipulates the cigarette, like the word I, to tell stories to him/herself about him/herself — or to an other.
  3. (dated) Someone who plays tricks; a trickster.[1]
  4. (nautical) An assistant to the ship's cook in washing, soaking, and shifting the salt provisions.[1]
  5. (engineering) A control device (usually a lever or button) for shifting gears in a gearbox, or an arrangement for shifting a belt sidewise from one pulley to another.[1]
    Hyponym: gear lever
  6. (engineering, textiles) A wire for changing a loop from one needle to another, as in narrowing, etc.[1]
  7. (cycling) A component used by the rider to control the gearing mechanisms and select the desired gear ratio, usually connected to the derailleur by a mechanical actuation cable.
  8. A spanner with an adjustable jaw size.
  9. (mining, historical) A person employed to repair the horseways and other passages, and keep them unobstructed.
  10. (US, Pennsylvania) A switcher or shunter: a railroad locomotive used for shunting.
  11. (mythology, science fiction, fantasy) A shape-shifter; a person or other being capable of changing their physical form, especially a lycanthrope.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:shape-shifter
  12. A shiftworker.
  13. (spirituality) Short for reality shifter.

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