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shift key

a typewriter key that determines whether characters are printed in upper or lower case and controls the printing of numbers and symbols.
Computers. a key that performs the same functions as on a typewriter keyboard and also controls other functions, depending on the program:
To print a file, depress the shift key and a function key.
Origin of shift key
First recorded in 1900-05 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for shift key
Historical Examples
  • Look at the top of that key, sir—the one with the words, 'shift key' on it.

    One of My Sons Anna Katharine Green
  • The one you first drew my attention to; the one marked 'shift key.'

    One of My Sons Anna Katharine Green
  • Oh, little house on the plains, when our typewriter forgets thee, may this shift key lose its function!

    Plum Pudding

    Christopher Morley
  • On the other hand, machines like the Smith Premier have no shift key, but a double keyboard.

British Dictionary definitions for shift key

shift key

a key on a typewriter or computer keyboard used to type capital letters and certain numbers and symbols
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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