shift key

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noun

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.

Nearby words

  1. shier,
  2. shiest,
  3. shift,
  4. shift bid,
  5. shift for oneself,
  6. shift lever,
  7. shift lock,
  8. shift to left,
  9. shift to right,
  10. shiftable

Origin of shift key

First recorded in 1900–05

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for shift key

  • Edwards has favored the full key-board as being less of a drain upon the attention than the "shift-key" machine.

    The Fiction Factory|John Milton Edwards
  • It is evident that both the shift-key arrangement and the double keyboard have their particular psychological advantages.

  • On the shift-key machine he must still struggle with the built-up exclamation point, the ditto quotes and the hyphen dash.

    The Fiction Factory|John Milton Edwards


British Dictionary definitions for shift key

shift key

noun

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