English Idiom – Switch gears
Alternative versions of this idiom:
- Change gears
- Shift gears
Meaning – To suddenly change what you are doing or discussing. To abruptly change the subject. If you switch gears you begin doing something completely different.
- When you change gear (e.g. in a manual car, some machine or on a bike) you select a different gear to function on. You are using a completely different gear.
- There is some confusion/disagreement over the true meaning of this idiom. If you switch gears in a car you can go faster or slower, because of this some people use the idiom in a way that means you start doing something at a faster or slower pace. A better idiom for this context would be shift into a higher or lower gear.
When could you use this idiom?
- You are talking to a friend but getting bored of the subject.
- A person is nice to you one moment, but nasty the next.
- During a problem solving session you decide to consider a different idea.
- You friend is making you uncomfortable by talking about a sensitive subject!
- “Can we stop talking about that hullabaloo last night? Let’s switch gears and decide what to eat for dinner!”
In The News:
- Is there an idiom like this in your country?
What is an idiom?
An idiom is a word or phrase that is not taken literally. An idiom is an expression that cannot be understood from the meanings of its individual words, but has a separate meaning of its own.