switch

noun
\ ˈswich \

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
5 : a device for making, breaking, or changing the connections in an electrical circuit
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 \ 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

For a lot of us—like Lee Hutchinson and myself—the switch to Intel was the catalyst for our fully buying into the Mac ecosystem. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Our favorite (and least favorite) tech of 2018," 26 Dec. 2018 The switch to serving in government has also been a safeguard for Lugovoi, as the Russian constitution bans extraditing criminal suspects. Greg Norman, Fox News, "Russians accused of crimes abroad finding fame in their homeland," 13 Sep. 2018 Fish, who's committed to Ohio State, is a switch-hitting catcher who hit .377 with 23 RBI this season to earn All-Ohio second-team honors. James Weber, Cincinnati.com, "2018 MLB Draft: Which Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky current, ex-preps stars were selected?," 7 June 2018 Nope, any subscriber on any carrier can make the switch to Visible. Michael Simon, PCWorld, "Verizon's $40 unlimited Visible service on Android FAQ: What is it and how to switch," 24 Jan. 2019 Both switch, meaning weather patterns reverse, as well. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "Mad scientists flip the Earth’s spin in climate models, watch water go nuts," 17 Oct. 2018 The 1989 switch, which also involved adopting the Latin alphabet, set the former Soviet republic on the road to its 1991 independence. Fox News, "Romanian or Russian? A geopolitical issue in Moldova," 27 Aug. 2018 The 1989 switch, which also involved adopting the Latin alphabet, set the former Soviet republic on the road to its 1991 independence. Alison Mutler, The Seattle Times, "Romanian or Russian? A geopolitical issue in Moldova," 27 Aug. 2018 Nor will a switch to playing three games every season against every other team. Marc Stein, New York Times, "Finally Free From LeBron’s Reign, the N.B.A. East Has No Reason to Change," 5 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The electricity pulls from the main house, though Michelle is considered switching to solar panels one day. Kaitlin Menza, House Beautiful, "You've Got To See This Garage Makeover Into A New "She Shed"," 25 Jan. 2019 The dance now continues and switches gears as sound bites of Ailey and of Mr. Harris present a postlude suggesting them in conversation. Robert Greskovic, WSJ, "New Works to Celebrate an Established Company," 12 Dec. 2018 Whether that strategy works remains to be seen, but Samsung is clearly switching gears with the Tab S4. Michael Simon, PCWorld, "Samsung's Galaxy Tab S4 is a work-first tablet built to take on the iPad Pro and Surface Laptop," 1 Aug. 2018 According to The Sun, Bournemouth have now switched their focus to Leganes left back Diego Rico. SI.com, "Bournemouth Switch Attention to Leganes Full Back as Cherries Baulk at Kieran Tierney Asking Price," 13 July 2018 And then, after 110 fraught minutes, England switched off for a single second and Mandzukic, that grizzled old warrior, stole in and smashed home the winner. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Croatia Digs Deeper, Burying England’s World Cup Dreams," 12 July 2018 Jackson can switch onto guards for perimeter defense. J. Michael, Indianapolis Star, "Jaren Jackson Jr. sits in middle of Grizzlies' efforts to rebuild grit-and-grind identity," 11 July 2018 Erik Spoelstra, though, can’t switch his thirst for knowledge off. Manny Navarro, miamiherald, "Heat's Erik Spoelstra shares details of visit to NFL camp, talks Jones Jr., Adebayo," 5 July 2018 After expressing her dismay over the current drama surrounding the Supreme Court, the pop icon and social media enthusiast switched gears and revealed that her new album will potentially be dropping in September. Hilary Hughes, Billboard, "Cher Teases New Album For September," 1 July 2018

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

1592, 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

11 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for switch

The first known use of switch was in 1592

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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 \

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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