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

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 Nayeb smuggled explosive materials used in his suicide vest onto the U.S. base, the lawsuit said, and completed it during his work shifts using string and an electrical switch from the Fluor work site as well as nuts and bolts used for shrapnel. Russ Bynum, The Seattle Times, "US soldier wounded in suicide attack sues bomber’s employer," 20 Feb. 2019 Presumably, finding the right mix of routers and ATM switches could ease delays substantially. Popular Mechanics, "The Death of the Internet," 7 Feb. 2019 Intel spent the recent CES in Las Vegas describing the company’s wholesale switch to 10nm, including Ice Lake, its next-generation processor, which is still on track to ship by the 2019 holiday season, Swan said. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Intel addresses processor shortages, CEO hunt after reporting disappointing fourth-quarter results," 24 Jan. 2019 For a lot of us—like Lee Hutchinson and myself—the switch to Intel was the catalyst for our fully buying into the Mac ecosystem. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Our favorite (and least favorite) tech of 2018," 26 Dec. 2018 The switch to serving in government has also been a safeguard for Lugovoi, as the Russian constitution bans extraditing criminal suspects. Greg Norman, Fox News, "Russians accused of crimes abroad finding fame in their homeland," 13 Sep. 2018 Fish, who's committed to Ohio State, is a switch-hitting catcher who hit .377 with 23 RBI this season to earn All-Ohio second-team honors. James Weber, Cincinnati.com, "2018 MLB Draft: Which Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky current, ex-preps stars were selected?," 7 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Kansas began switching five on defense, and the stops fueled a 14-0 second-half charge that gave Self’s team the lead. Dave Skretta, The Seattle Times, "Lawson’s double-double lifts No. 9 KU past No. 24 Cyclones," 22 Jan. 2019 Alto’s Odyssey switches the setting to a gorgeous desert landscape, and introduces new features like wall-riding and bouncy hot air balloons. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "The 8 best games for your new iPhone, iPad, or Android phone," 26 Dec. 2018 Just switching topics a little bit toward technology. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates explains how Donald Trump is trying to corrupt the Justice Department," 12 Nov. 2018 But the Norwegian Dawn is switching up its route altogether, sailing to New England and Canada instead. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "How Hurricane Florence Will Mess With Your Travel Plans," 13 Sep. 2018 Stallworth can instantly switch between dialects, something many people of color might find familiar. Sonia Rao, chicagotribune.com, "'What's up with that white voice?': The tricky art of linguistic code-switching," 14 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

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

25 Mar 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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