verb (used with object)
- to move or transfer (a train, car, etc.) from one set of tracks to another.
- to drop or add (cars) or to make up (a train).
verb (used without object)
Origin of switch
British Dictionary definitions for asleep at the switch
Derived Formsswitcher, nounswitchlike, adjective
Word Origin for switch
Idioms and Phrases with asleep at the switch (1 of 2)
asleep at the switch
Also, asleep at the wheel. Inattentive, not doing one's job, as in At the critical moment the watchman was asleep at the switch and only called the fire department when it was too late. This term came from 19th-century American railroading, when it was the trainman's duty to switch cars from one track to another by means of manually operated levers. Should he fail to do so, trains could collide. It was later transferred to any lack of alertness. The wheel in the variant is a steering wheel; similarly disastrous results are implied.
Idioms and Phrases with asleep at the switch (2 of 2)
In addition to the idioms beginning with switch
- switch off
- switch on
- asleep at the switch
- bait and switch