switch

noun
\ ˈswich How to pronounce switch (audio) \
plural switches

Definition of switch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a slender flexible whip, rod, or twig a riding switch
2 : an act of switching: such as
a : a blow with a switch
b : a shift from one to another
c : a change from the usual that outfit is a switch
3 : a tuft of long hairs at the end of the tail of an animal (such as a cow) — see cow illustration
4 : a device made usually of two movable rails and necessary connections and designed to turn a locomotive or train from one track to another
5a : a device for making, breaking, or changing the connections in an electrical circuit
b : a software icon that is used to select between one of usually two available states Tap Edit and then toggle the switch next to each supported service to the appropriate setting.— Jason Cipriani Other features … include: … A software switch that lets you change the side button's function to be either volume mute or orientation lock.— Matt Rosoff
6 : a heavy strand of hair used in addition to a person's own hair for some coiffures

switch

verb
switched; switching; switches

Definition of switch (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to strike or beat with or as if with a switch
2 : whisk, lash a cat switching its tail
3a(1) : to turn from one railroad track to another : shunt
(2) : to move (cars) to different positions on the same track within terminal areas
b : to make a shift in or exchange of switch seats
4a : to shift to another electrical circuit by means of a switch
b(1) : to operate an electrical switch so as to turn (a device) on or off usually used with on or off
(2) : to change to or from an active state usually used with on or off switched on the gene

intransitive verb

1 : to lash from side to side
2 : to make a shift or exchange

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Other Words from switch

Verb

switchable \ ˈswi-​chə-​bəl How to pronounce switchable (audio) \ adjective
switcher noun

Synonyms for switch

Synonyms: Noun

flogger, lash, scourge, whip

Synonyms: Verb

change, commute, exchange, shift, substitute, swap, trade

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Examples of switch in a Sentence

Noun

She flicked a switch and turned the lamp on. He threw the switch to stop the machine.

Verb

I switched to a new doctor. He kept switching back and forth between topics. She switched back to her original insurance company. We switched over to a different telephone service. Why did you switch jobs?
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

At the time of the switch, DFS had been preparing to reprimand MUFG for not doing enough to monitor whether clients were evading U.S. sanctions on countries such as Iran and North Korea. Kristin Broughton, WSJ, "U.S. Regulator Asks MUFG Branches to Strengthen Anti-Money-Laundering Controls," 22 Feb. 2019 Officials tallied around 100 Legionnaires’ cases, leading to 12 deaths in the wake of the water switch. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Doc charged with involuntary manslaughter in Flint crisis wins top health award," 12 Oct. 2018 Wolters — who came into the game as part of a double switch in the 12th — then drove an RBI single up the middle. Andrew Seligman, The Seattle Times, "For Cubs, season ends on sour note with loss to Rockies," 2 Oct. 2018 However, Martin's agent was quick to allay any rumours of a switch to Sporting's local rivals. SI.com, "Liverpool & Arsenal Handed Major Boost In Pursuit of Gelson Martins By Portugal Star's Agent," 2 July 2018 There are other advantages of a statewide switch to spring. Curt Hogg, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "For the final time, the sun rises on summer baseball in Wisconsin," 24 May 2018 Still, manager Don Mattingly decided to take no chances with the lefty and lifted him in the fifth as part of a double switch, preventing Chen from earning the win. Clark Spencer, miamiherald, "Marlins send reeling Dodgers to their fifth straight loss | Miami Herald," 15 May 2018 There was a substitution snafu when Garrett entered the game as part of a double switch. John Fay, Cincinnati.com, "Matt Harvey impressive as Cincinnati Reds beat Dodgers 6-2 for season-high fourth straight win," 12 May 2018 Seeing her switch and struggle to find where was most suited for her was fascinating. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "#ReadWithMC Reviews Fiona Barton's 'The Suspect'," 4 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The school, after switching tracks in California, has been in Arizona since 1990. Clifford Atiyeh, Car and Driver, "Bob Bondurant Racing School, Bankrupt, Reopens Under New Owner," 21 May 2019 Both teams switched up their lineups for Game 3, with Portland’s Meyers Leonard making his first start of the playoffs at center. Anne M. Peterson, The Seattle Times, "Green, Warriors beat Blazers for 3-0 lead in West finals," 19 May 2019 Lastly, switch back to that standing shoulder press, but this time alternate sides instead of pressing both arms up in unison. SELF, "How to Make Sure Instability Exercises Aren’t Working Against You," 17 May 2019 Matt has offered Amy a buyout or to switch sides of the farm with him (since his side requires less upkeep). Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "‘Little People, Big World’ Star Amy Roloff Gets Called Out on Instagram After the Latest Episode," 15 May 2019 So switch up pairing, location, and position before giving up on something. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "9 Foolproof Tips for Decorating with Art," 13 May 2019 While other stars went back to their hotels to do full outfit changes— Monae switched up her look with ease. Chrissy Rutherford, Harper's BAZAAR, "Janelle Monae Channeled a Surrealist Painting at the Met Gala," 7 May 2019 Getty Images Known for her dark brown pixie cut, Jenner switched up her signature 'do for a hot, razor-sharp blonde bob. Ineye Komonibo, Marie Claire, "Kris Jenner Debuted a Hot New Look at the 2019 Met Gala," 6 May 2019 In addition to the new colorist, DeGeneres switched up her hair dye technique from foils to an all-over double process. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Ellen DeGeneres Says Her Hair Is Falling Out, Thanks to a Bad Colorist," 1 May 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'switch.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of switch

Noun

1597, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

circa 1611, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for switch

Noun

perhaps from Middle Dutch swijch twig

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Statistics for switch

Last Updated

3 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for switch

The first known use of switch was in 1597

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More Definitions for switch

switch

noun

English Language Learners Definition of switch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a small device that starts or stops the flow of electricity to something (such as a lamp or a machine) when it is pressed or moved up and down
: a sudden change from one thing to another
US : a device for moving the rails of a track so that a train may be turned from one track to another

switch

verb

English Language Learners Definition of switch (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make a change from one thing to another : to start doing or using something that is different
: to make a change from one thing to another by turning or pushing a button or moving a switch, lever, etc.
: to change or replace (something) with another thing

switch

noun
\ ˈswich How to pronounce switch (audio) \

Kids Definition of switch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a device for making, breaking, or changing the connections in an electrical circuit
2 : a change from one thing to another a switch in plans
3 : a narrow flexible whip, rod, or twig
4 : an act of switching
5 : a device for adjusting the rails of a track so that a train or streetcar may be turned from one track to another

switch

verb
switched; switching

Kids Definition of switch (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to turn, shift, or change by operating a device that makes, breaks, or changes the connections in an electrical circuit Remember to switch off the light.
2 : to move quickly from side to side The cow was switching its tail.
3 : to make a shift or change He switched to a new barber.
4 : to strike with or as if with a whip, rod, or twig

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More from Merriam-Webster on switch

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with switch

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for switch

Spanish Central: Translation of switch

Nglish: Translation of switch for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of switch for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about switch

Comments on switch

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