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 offswitched 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

Synonyms: Verb

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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 Then, as if someone had flipped a switch, clouds gathered, the wind strengthened, and the lake pulsed with whitecaps. Field & Stream, "Field Test: The Best New Hunting and Fishing Gear of the Year," 15 May 2020 Two more conference titles later, Powell has had 12 players drafted, including switch-hitting catcher (just like Powell) John Jones, whom the A’s took in the 32nd round two years ago. Susan Slusser, SFChronicle.com, "A’s Gone By: Personal heartbreak, professional triumph for Landon Powell," 27 Apr. 2020 Company spokesman Mac Mills told me that since founders and camping fanatics flipped the switch in 2015, Outdoorsy has seen more than 200,000 renters who have generated a half-billion dollars in transactions on 50,000 listings. Chris Dixon, Outside Online, "Read This Before Renting Your Beloved Van to Strangers," 21 Feb. 2020 Each position on the switch features a pair of tones. Popular Science, "I tried a bajillion new products this year. Here are 17 you should actually buy.," 16 Dec. 2019 The case took a darker turn when Dalu discovered what looked like smudges of human blood on the light switch, baseboard, ceiling and door casing in Smith’s old San Juan Capistrano office. Christine Pelisek, PEOPLE.com, "What Happened to Young Tech Entrepreneur After His Emails Abruptly Stopped?," 11 Nov. 2019 At $400 each (plus labor), the switch was pricey, but their prominent placement justified the splurge. Charlotte Safavi, Better Homes & Gardens, "Clever Swaps and Budget-Friendly Fixes Add Major Impact to This 300-Square-Foot Kitchen Makeover," 21 Apr. 2020 The switch to groceries is one way Rubia's is trying to survive. Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY, "Need toilet paper or eggs? You might be able to find these in-demand items at restaurants amid COVID-19," 9 Apr. 2020 The switch to remote instruction caused by COVID-19 has been unsettling. Ryan Korstange, The Conversation, "6 ways to build motivation to do your schoolwork now that you’re forced to learn online at home," 7 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Cheap fossil fuels tend to encourage their use -- increasing emissions -- and dissuade users from switching to alternatives. Enda Curran, Bloomberg.com, "Oil Crash Sends New Shock Through World Crippled by Virus," 15 May 2020 Work on deliberately switching your internal focus to others. Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, "Ask Amy: Dater making strides, but lacks self-confidence," 14 May 2020 Joeckel headed to Jacksonville and switched to right tackle because solid Eugene Monroe was on the left side. Scott Patsko, cleveland, "Can the Browns win with a rookie left tackle? Three high draft picks who did not work out as expected," 14 May 2020 Work on deliberately switching your internal focus to others. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, "Dating confidence can’t be faked," 14 May 2020 Coal peaked in America in 2011 and has continued to decline as power plants switch to renewable energy and natural gas. Matt Egan, CNN, "America is trailing in the clean energy race," 13 May 2020 This call can switch from timid yelps to louder, more aggressive hen calls with little more than a flick of your wrist. Outdoor Life, "Four animal call devices for hunters," 7 May 2020 Crossing 5: Lexa’s agent switches places with Jon and Chloe, who row to the far side. Laura Feiveson, Popular Mechanics, "Solution to Riddle of the Week: Can You Get These 3 Movie Stars Across the River?," 1 May 2020 The Continental Congress granted citizenship even to enemy soldiers who switched sides. The Economist, "Battling to be American The path to citizenship for those who put on American uniform has narrowed," 30 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler for switch

Time Traveler

The first known use of switch was in 1597

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Statistics for switch

Last Updated

19 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Switch.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/switch. Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for switch

switch

noun
How to pronounce switch (audio)

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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Comments on switch

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