Advertisement - Continue reading below

Definition of "downshift" [downshift]

  • To shift a motor vehicle into a lower gear. (verb-intransitive)
  • To reduce the speed, rate, or intensity of something. (verb-intransitive)
  • To simplify or reduce one's expectations or commitments, especially in work hours: "28 percent said that they had downshifted and voluntarily cut back on their income in some way ... to reflect changes in priorities” ( Carey Goldberg). (verb-intransitive)
  • To shift (a motor vehicle) into a lower gear. (verb-transitive)
  • To reduce in speed, rate, or intensity: "The president is downshifting his confrontational rhetoric and reaffirming his readiness to talk arms control” ( Newsweek). (verb-transitive)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "downshift" in a sentence
  • "Time to downshift from the Bush Derangement Syndrome, folks. burritoboy Says:"
  • "Fleming managed a convincing attacca downshift from the "éternellement lumineux" young bodies of "La maison" to an intoxicated, drill-sergeant bark for "Les deux guerriers.""
  • "Baby boomers decide to "downshift" -- fewer CDs. more time -- have figured this out: Owen Byrd and Maria Lines of Palo Alto, Calif., a public-interest lawyer and an engineer, decided to cut their $100,000 income by $20,000 this year to get an extra day at home."