switch

noun
\ ˈswich How to pronounce switch (audio) \

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 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

Let’s make the switch to infinitely recyclable aluminum. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Game of Thrones’ Jason Momoa Shaved His Iconic Beard, and Fans Are in a Frenzy," 18 Apr. 2019 Like his former teammate Patrick, Indiana native Stewart spent several years racing Indy cars before making the switch to the NASCAR Cup Series. Gary Gastelu, Fox News, "Tony Stewart may enter 2019 Indy 500, but not as a 'sideshow' like Danica Patrick," 10 Aug. 2018 To encourage farmers to make the switch to organic, Sikkim tapered off its supply of chemical pesticides and fertilizers — making their use a criminal offense in 2014 — launched education programs, and installed thousands of composting pits. Annie Gowen, Washington Post, "Pesticides helped bring modern farming to India. One tiny state is leading the charge to ban them.," 31 May 2018 Instead of doing your bedtime reading by traditional incandescent bulbs and fixtures, make the switch to more eco-conscious LED bulbs and lights. Lauren Hubbard, ELLE Decor, "A Beginner's Guide to Making Your Home More Sustainable," 1 Apr. 2019 For example, both United and American Airlines expanded their Basic Economy offerings to international routes last year, while Delta made the switch in 2017. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Are the Discount Airlines Doomed?," 29 Mar. 2019 Many subscribers were willing to make the switch, but others were reluctant to hand in their old walkie-talkie-like devices. Drew Fitzgerald, WSJ, "AT&T Gives 3G Service Three Years to Live," 21 Feb. 2019 In her personal life there’s been a lot to unpack, too—a cross-country move from New York to California, an agency switch to Ford Models, and delving into the notoriously competitive acting world. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "This Trailblazing Model Is Poised to Become TV’s Next Big Thing," 21 Mar. 2019 Above, watch what happens when the two switch styles—and dress each other at the Coach New York City store on Fifth Avenue. Harper's Bazaar Staff, Harper's BAZAAR, "Watch Two BAZAAR Editors Swap Styles," 14 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Another is to add a rocket motor to bombs or switch your arsenal over to missiles—though both methods would probably take up more room in an aircraft, forcing it to carry fewer weapons. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "This New Air Defense System Can Intercept Aircraft-Dropped Bombs," 4 Apr. 2019 Without resting, switch legs and repeat for another two minutes. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "Strengthen Your Glutes and Hamstrings With This Pulsing Exercise From Celebrity Trainer Erin Oprea," 28 Mar. 2019 The water should just be switched out every two weeks and stay at room temperature to keep the balls at their best. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "This Little Green Ball is Actually the Cutest House Plant You’ll Ever Own," 25 Mar. 2019 Celebs like Charlize Theron, Emilia Clarke, and Emma Stone have all switched over to this sultry shade within the first few months of 2019, and now Lucy Hale is the latest to join the chocolate brown bob club. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "Lucy Hale Has Brown Hair Again—This Time, With a Razor-Sharp Bob," 12 Mar. 2019 When flipped on, the laptop’s webcam is electrically switched off. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "HP Spectre x360 13 (2018) hands on: 'Whiskey Lake' power sits alongside 22 hours of battery life," 23 Oct. 2018 On terraces with views of the river, conversations among Cairo’s cultural elite switch seamlessly among Arabic, English, and French. Klara Glowczewska, Town & Country, "Can Egypt Convince the World That It Is Starting Over?," 19 Mar. 2019 Do 10 to 15 side lunges and then 30 seconds of high knees; switch sides and repeat. 3. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "A Total-Body HIIT Workout You Can Do in Under 15 Minutes From Celebrity Trainer Jeanette Jenkins," 14 Mar. 2019 In 2017, after nearly two years on the market at the $100 million price tag, the property switched listing agents to Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Joyce Rey of Coldwell Banker, and the price was slashed to $67 million. Candace Taylor, WSJ, "Michael Jackson’s Neverland Relists for $31 Million—Or 70% Off," 26 Feb. 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

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

22 Apr 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 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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