At the center of The Witch is the family's eldest daughter, a young woman named Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy), whose coming of age is even more fraught for taking place in a secluded wilderness with only her family around. Her mother seems to suspect her of being untrustworthy even before witches enter the story, and her younger brother keeps sneaking glances down her shift.


I am not sure what the brother exactly does. Does it mean that he is attracted by his sister? Is not in the review a TYPO when "shirt" was mistakenly replaced by "shift"?

  • 2
    Shift is correct. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemise
    – Catija
    May 15, 2016 at 21:14
  • 2
    I suppose thinking it's a typo is a good reading strategy; but then so is trying a dictionary or two before posting a question over a word meaning. May 15, 2016 at 22:13
  • However, I didn't know this meaning of shift before you asked this question, and I can see how a language learner could think the word shift to be out of place here. It's not a common word when it means chemise. May 16, 2016 at 15:35

2 Answers 2


I can't tell you why her younger brother keeps sneaking glances as I've not seen the movie. But it's not unreasonable to assume that the younger brother is curious about his eldest sister's physical development down her shift. And beyond the shift/shirt question I'm not sure how on-topic this is.


3.0 A woman’s straight, unwaisted dress.

3.1 A long, loose-fitting undergarment.

(Oxford dictionary)

See also Catija's Wikipedia link to chemise/shift.


A shift is a sort of dress that is worn under the dress... sort of like negligee... so yes, the brother is looking at his sister with some sort of sexual curiosity.

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