• graveyard shift


    a late-night to early-morning work schedule

Translation


graveyard shift = der Nachtdienst, die Nachtschicht --- GOOGLE INDEX graveyard shift: approximately 2,500,000 Google hits

Statistics


In the press


Police departments typically staff lightly in the early morning because they get few calls. When they must cut the patrol, they often look to the GRAVEYARD SHIFT, with its lower call volume, for relief.

(The San Jose Mercury)

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At the moment, the 18-year-old freshman at Jefferson Community & Technical College in Louisville, Ky., is unconcerned with next week’s final exams. She is working the GRAVEYARD SHIFT at UPS’ massive Worldport warehouse, located next door to Louisville International Airport.

(Forbes magazine)

Did you know?


graveyard shift
noun phrase

- a period of work, for example in a factory, which begins late at night and ends early in the morning

(Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)

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As The Phrase Finder points out, the Internet is sometimes a "valuable" source of misinformation and myths, particularly when it comes to tracking down the origins of words and phrases. Graveyard shift is an excellent example as this silly explanation illustrates, which includes a theory for the origin of three expressions:

England is old and small and they started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a "bone-house" and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, one out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive.

So they thought they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the "graveyard shift") to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be "saved by the bell" or was considered a "dead ringer."

This a great campfire story, but no more than that. Graveyard shift was first used in the 19th century in the United States and has nothing to do with graveyards. It probably stems from the simple idea it can be "quiet as a graveyard" when working in the middle of the night.

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SYNONYMS

night shift

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SMUGGLE OWAD into today's conversation

"Some people prefer the graveyard shift because it's quiet and travelling to work is much easier."

A Friend in Need, is a Friend Indeed:


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