to switch gears

Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jan 7 18:58:41 UTC 2011

The OED does have a definition for "switch gears". It's annexed from
Webster's 3rd New Internat. and embedded in a quotation.

Shift, v
III. 12. e. To change (gear), move (a gear lever). Also intr., to
change from one gear into another; to shift up or down, to engage a
higher or a lower gear. Also fig.

1961 Webster's 3rd New Internat. Dict. Eng. Lang., Shift gears, to
make a change from one method, tempo, or approach to another.

On Thu, Jan 6, 2011 at 8:52 PM, Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      to switch gears
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Not in OED--the straight meaning is directly derivable, so no need for
> it, but the figurative meaning is not. It means "to change attitude,
> approach, direction [abruptly]; to make a different choice, preference"
> Unabridged is the only one I found to have a definition:

The American Dialect Society -

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