downshift [doun-shift] ExamplesWord Origin verb (used without object)

  1. to shift an automotive transmission or vehicle into a lower gear.
  2. to become less active; slow down: The economy seems to be downshifting.

verb (used with object)

  1. to shift (an automotive transmission or vehicle) into a lower gear.


  1. an act or instance of downshifting.

Origin of downshift First recorded in 1950–55; down1 + shift Examples from the Web for downshift Contemporary Examples of downshift

  • On schools: keep innovating, increase accountability, but downshift the emphasis on test scores.

    Jack Hidary Waits to Make His Push in New York City Mayoral Race

    David Freedlander

    August 14, 2013

  • Howard Kurtz on the downshift—and how Cain is defying political gravity.

    ‘Tired’ Cain Campaign Slows Down

    Howard Kurtz

    October 28, 2011

  • And this downshift in career ambitions is just as true for the top dogs among us.

    I Just Had a Baby, I’ll Call You Back

    Katty Kay, Claire Shipman

    June 2, 2009

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