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

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 There was similar fanfare over his switch into another language. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, "The Importance of Sandra Oh Thanking Her Parents in Korean at the Golden Globes 2019," 7 Jan. 2019 The god of war has long been an adversary for Diana and the Amazonians and his switch to the opposite side—which may or may not be temporary—offers up a host of problems. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "A New Wonder Woman Wonders Whether War Is Ever Worth It," 26 Nov. 2018 Cisco in recent years has sought to build up its software business as a recurring source of revenue rather than rely on one-time sales of routers, switches and other networking equipment. Angus Loten, WSJ, "Cisco Names Former Thomson Reuters IT Chief as CIO," 9 Apr. 2019 To fully neutralize the system, pilots would need to flip two more switches. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Lion Air Pilots Had Less Than a Minute to Avert Fatal Crash," 27 Mar. 2019 Mike Zolk, owner of Zoom Baseball Academy in Northeast Philadelphia, said some athletes may be daunted by the time required to learn switch-hitting. Tom Avril, Philly.com, "Phillies pitcher Vince Velasquez can throw with either hand. What does that say about his brain?," 3 July 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

However, Kim was not amused and insisted that her daughter switch into a pair of children's shoes instead. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "North West Borrowed Kim Kardashian's High Heel Snakeskin Boots," 25 Apr. 2019 Palmerston began his career in politics as a Tory MP in 1807 before switching parties, first to the Whigs and later to the Liberal party. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Who Was Queen Victoria's Foreign Secretary, Lord Palmerston?," 20 Jan. 2019 Do 20 reps, and then switch legs for another 20 reps. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "This 4-Move Workout Works Your Whole Body—and All You Need Is a Step," 19 Apr. 2019 While some vacuum manufacturers recommend switching the head for different jobs or floor types, the Shark's design eliminates the need for that step. Sarah Bogdan, Good Housekeeping, "This Top-Rated Shark Vacuum Is $200 Off on Amazon Right Now," 2 Apr. 2019 Their photographer began snapping a few pictures of them in the hotel room to commemorate the occasion before pausing to switch lenses. Blair Donovan, Country Living, "'American Idol' Stars Gabby Barrett and Cade Foehner Are Engaged," 25 Mar. 2019 Voice assistants can be used to control the TV directly (to change the volume or switch inputs for example), to control other Google Assistant compatible devices, or to ask more general queries about topics such as the weather. Jon Porter, The Verge, "Google Assistant is reportedly coming to Samsung TVs," 21 Dec. 2018 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

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

20 May 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

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