I began searching in the zoology section. But I didn't find what I wanted. [...], I shifted to veterinary medicine.

I think using giving up would mean giving up on the whole thing. It doesn't imply change.

  • If you hadn't already got half of it in your example context, I'd have suggested shifting tack. But it turns out changing tack is way more common anyway, so there you go! :) Figuratively, I'd say change tack = stop what you're doing [to solve a problem] and try another approach – FumbleFingers Jan 10 '15 at 3:33
  • yeah it's changing tack dude. but that means changing your approach, to, a given problem. it's not what Jano is asking – Fattie Jan 10 '15 at 3:39
  • Hi Jano - "shifted" or just "changed" is perfectly OK. i don't think there's any more fancy choice here. – Fattie Jan 10 '15 at 3:40
  • Also: Dejected, Distracted, Unimpressed and even So are words that fill the blank that don't have to be redundant to the following use of shifted. I like So in this context as it is a strong fit in place of as a consequence. – SrJoven Jan 10 '15 at 4:13
  • @Joe Blow: Well, thinking about it some more maybe the question is just "Unclear". After all, a logical choice of word describing the "state" of the person "changing tack" could be frustrated or thwarted. But I seriously doubt there's a single word meaning recognise that the current approach isn't solving the problem, but refuse to concede defeat, and try another approach. – FumbleFingers Jan 10 '15 at 4:46

He forsook [X] [for / to pursue] [Y].


I didn't find what I wanted in the zoology section, so I began diverging into veterinary medicine.


di·verge, dəˈvərj, dīˈvərj/ verb:

(of a road, route, or line) separate from another route, especially a main one, and go in a different direction; deviate from a set course or standard; develop in a different direction. -Google


When a search appears unproductive, I'll retarget my efforts with different keyword or discipline emphasis. collinsdictionary:

to target again or differently


A lower pound would help retarget inflation and transfer spending power from consumers to producers. Glasgow Herald (2002)

In fact, towards the end, Misra agreed with the need to liberalise agriculture, and was even convinced of the need to retarget subsidies. Business Today (1998)


Change[ing] course would work in your example


I think the most common word in English to describe your state would be undaunted. In common usage today, it means what @FumbleFingers describes above: you've recognized that your current approach is not working, but are refusing to concede defeat and will try again (presumably using another tack, in your case).

Note that undaunted does not have the sort of "giving up" or even the "changing approach" part of your meaning itself but rather the "continuing despite initial failure" part. The continuance of your sentence ("I shifted to veterinary medicine") is what actually describes the change and informs the reader that you are going to change tack in your next foray.

On the other hand, if you want the phrase to emphasize the sense of doing something different (giving up on your first approach) rather than the perseverance, I'd probably use either changing tack, or more commonly, shifting gears.


The word refocusing would imply that you clarified what you were searching for (in your mind) and proceeded in that direction.

  • a nice suggestion, and very "business-wise" language – Fattie Jan 13 '15 at 12:49

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