- 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 ... 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).