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Shiftless

adjective; derivation
Describes a piece of writing in which only lowercase letters are used This word is interesting because it has multiple meanings. One of the common, accepted meanings of shiftless is “lacking in incentive; lazy.” This appears to be synonymous with the new meaning involving the Shift key on a computer keyboard. It shows a lack of determination or a firm purpose when a person decides not to type with any capital letters, and it also makes the writing extremely difficult to read. This word shows metonymy because the Shift key relates to the person pressing it. The less also makes the word a spatial metaphor. This word is used by all speech communities because most people have access to computers today.
 
I got yet another shiftless e-mail from *somebody*.
Etymology : From Middle English shiften, from Old English sciftan “to divide, arrange,” from Old Norse skipa “to arrange, assign” + from Middle English lesse, from Old English l[AE]s “without,” from l[AE]ssa, from Old Frisian lEs “less”
Source : My roommate
Last modified: 10 June 2008


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