switch·​board | \ˈswich-ˌbȯrd \

Definition of switchboard 

: an apparatus (as in a telephone exchange) consisting of a panel on which are mounted electric switches so arranged that a number of circuits may be connected, combined, and controlled

Examples of switchboard in a Sentence

She used to work as a switchboard operator.

Recent Examples on the Web

During the early days of Kelly's tenure … Trump made many of his calls from the White House switchboard — a tactic that allowed the chief of staff to receive a printed list of who Trump had phoned. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: VA nominee’s struggles are a consequence of Trump’s vetting failures," 24 Apr. 2018 According to Politico, the prankster called the White House switchboard and was told the president could not be reached. Kevin Kelleher, Fortune, "'Stuttering John' Prank Call to Trump May Be Funny, but the White House's Lax Communications Security Is Not," 29 June 2018 There was constant disagreement over whether switchboard operators, most of whom were women, should be exposed to profanity when it was used on the line. Janelle Nanos, BostonGlobe.com, "Stop answering your phone," 6 Jan. 2018 Telephone service across the state was interrupted when the switchboard operators and electrical workers who maintained telephone lines went on strike for higher wages. sandiegouniontribune.com, "June 18, 1919: Telephone operators strike," 18 June 2018 On the podcast, Melendez first calls the White House switchboard and identifies himself as ‘‘Stuttering John Melendez,’’ but is told Trump is unavailable. Felicia Sonmez, BostonGlobe.com, "In prank call, comedian claims to reach President Trump aboard Air Force One," 30 June 2018 On the recording, Melendez and his crew can be heard duping a White House switchboard operator who willingly gives up that the president is not currently at the White House and is actually out of town. Monique Judge, The Root, "Your Dumb President Fell For a Prank Call by Howard Stern’s Stuttering John," 29 June 2018 Afterward, the White House switchboard lit up, allegedly with callers applauding the president. Michael Paterniti, GQ, "Jimmy Carter for Higher Office," 26 June 2018 San Diego’s hello girls, or about 140 of them, left their switchboards yesterday as a protest against the scale of wages paid by the company. sandiegouniontribune.com, "June 18, 1919: Telephone operators strike," 18 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'switchboard.' 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 switchboard

1873, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for switchboard

The first known use of switchboard was in 1873

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More Definitions for switchboard



English Language Learners Definition of switchboard

: a system used to connect telephone calls with many separate phone lines in a building


switch·​board | \ˈswich-ˌbȯrd \

Kids Definition of switchboard

: a panel for controlling the operation of a number of electric circuits

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Comments on switchboard

What made you want to look up switchboard? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


playful or foolish behavior

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