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From Middle English upshiften, upschyften (to raise), equivalent to up- +‎ shift.


upshift (plural upshifts)

  1. (automotive, cycling) A shift to a higher gear
    • 1999, Kurt Neuffer, Kurt Engelsdorf, “Transmission Control”, in Ronald K. Jurgen, editor, Automotive Electronics Handbook[1], page 323:
      For example, the vehicle starts off in second gear or an upshift takes place at lower engine speeds.
  2. A shift to a higher level, such as of frequency, growth, economic level, etc.


upshift (third-person singular simple present upshifts, present participle upshifting, simple past and past participle upshifted)

  1. (automotive, cycling) To shift to a higher gear
    You can upshift to second gear once the car is moving.
  2. (transitive) To shift to a higher level, such as of frequency, growth rate, economic level, etc.
    The frequency of the light is upshifted.
    • 2010, Meryl Runion, How To Restore Sanity To Our Political Conversations, page 113:
      That's how you upshift a conversation so you can navigate the great political divide in a way that insights, not incites.
    • 2014, Lyn Sharratt, Gale Harild, Good to Great to Innovate:
      Collectively, we need to “up-shift” our thinking—we need a new mindset.
    • 2016, Amal Treacher Kabesh, Postcolonial Masculinities, page 73:
      Irritation will also occur if you or your family have never had, and will never have, a chance to 'upshift'.


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