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

Several dangerous things can happen, such as the gear selector indicating the wrong gear or a driver switching off the vehicle in park and exiting with the key when the transmission is actually in neutral. Clifford Atiyeh, Car and Driver, "Ford Recalls 260,000 More Fusion Sedans for Breaking Shifter Cables," 15 May 2019 The kitchen was expanded, a breakfast room was added, and heart-pine floors were switched to a paler oak. Julia Reed, ELLE Decor, "Tour a rebuilt and refreshed California home damaged by fire," 11 Feb. 2019 What a dream to bring it home, fill it with tapered white candles, switch off all the lights, and swivel its elegant arms around. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Oldies but Goodies: The 10 Standout Antiques from The Winter Show," 18 Jan. 2019 One student, an eager freshman, suddenly stopped participating in class, as if someone had switched off a light. Jonathan W. Wilson, Vox, "My students aren’t asking for safe spaces. They’re repressing past traumas to survive.," 12 Dec. 2018 When switched off, the microphone won’t pick up any Alexa or Portal requests. Kurt Wagner, Recode, "Facebook is audaciously launching a video gadget for your home, called Portal. Is that a good idea?," 8 Oct. 2018 The album was previously scheduled for release on June 15, but was then pushed back to August 10, and was then switched again to August 17, Fader reported. Kara Nesvig, Teen Vogue, "Nicki Minaj Changed the Release Date of Her Album "Queen"," 10 Aug. 2018 As a result, Wimbledon officials are forced to relax their rigid rules of Centre Court that hold that spectators must switch off their phones and devices during play. Sam Farmer, latimes.com, "England riding high on World Cup success as Wimbledon also creates a racket," 11 July 2018 At the Yankees insistence, Sunday’s game, once scheduled for 8 p.m., was switched to a 1 p.m. start by the sports network — much more palatable amid the Yankees’ travel plans. David Waldstein, New York Times, "The Yankees Went to Extra Innings, but Still Knocked Off Early," 8 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

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

Comments on switch

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