to shift the transmission of a motor vehicle to a lower gear or arrangement
an instance of shifting gears in this way
verbdown·shift·ed, down·shift·ing, down·shifts
- To shift a motor vehicle into a lower gear.
- To reduce the speed, rate, or intensity of something.
- 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 &ellipsis; to reflect changes in priorities” (Carey Goldberg).
- To shift (a motor vehicle) into a lower gear.
- To reduce in speed, rate, or intensity: “The president is downshifting his confrontational rhetoric and reaffirming his readiness to talk arms control” (Newsweek).
- To simplify or reduce one's commitments in (one's life).
(third-person singular simple present downshifts, present participle downshifting, simple past and past participle downshifted)
- To shift a transmission into a lower gear.
- To function at a lower rate.