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shifting (plural shiftings)

  1. A shift or change; a shifting movement.
    • 1811, Charles Lamb, On the Tragedies of Shakespeare Considered with Reference to their Fitness for Stage Representation:
      I remember the last time I saw Macbeth played, the discrepancy I felt at the changes of garment which he varied, the shiftings and reshiftings, like a Romish priest at mass.
    • 1919, Henry B[lake] Fuller, “Cope at His House Party”, in Bertram Cope’s Year: A Novel, Chicago, Ill.: Ralph Fletcher Seymour, The Alderbrink Press, →OCLC, page 94:
      But shiftings and readjustments ensued, as they are sure to do with a walking-party. Cope presently found himself scuffling through the thin grass and the briery thickets alongside the young business-man.
    • 1978, Jack Vance, The View from Chickweed's Window:
      Then everyone moved at the same time — slight shiftings of the hands and feet, furtive easings of position.
  2. (linguistics) The phenomenon by which two or more constituents appearing on the same side of their common head exchange positions to obtain non-canonical order.

Derived terms[edit]



  1. present participle and gerund of shift