switch

[ swich ]
/ swɪtʃ /

noun

verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

QUIZZES

CHALLENGE YOURSELF WITH THESE WORDS FROM "LITTLE WOMEN"

"Little Women" may be a classic, but that doesn't mean we all know the meanings of the vocab words from the book. Can you define these words correctly and make Jo proud?
Question 1 of 10
earnest

Idioms for switch

    asleep at the switch, Informal. failing to perform one's duty, missing an opportunity, etc., because of negligence or inattention: He lost the contract because he was asleep at the switch.

Origin of switch

1585–95; earlier swits, switz slender riding whip, flexible stick; compare Low German (Hanoverian) schwutsche long, thin stick

OTHER WORDS FROM switch

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for asleep at the switch

switch
/ (swɪtʃ) /

noun

verb

Derived forms of switch

switcher, nounswitchlike, adjective

Word Origin for switch

C16: perhaps from Middle Dutch swijch branch, twig
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

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)

switch

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.