- a highway, as in a mountainous area, having many hairpin curves.
- Railroads. a zigzag track arrangement for climbing a steep grade.
- British. roller coaster.
- (of a road, railroad track, etc.) to progress through a series of hairpin curves; zigzag: The road switchbacks up the mountain.
Origin of switchback
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for switchback
Alexander remarked as they rounded another turn on the switchback path.The Lani People
J. F. Bone
I felt as if once again I were strapped in the car on the switchback railway.
The car on the switchback rushes, whirls, plungesfalls with me to destruction.
But he was a strong horse, and on a trail up a switchback—do you know what a switchback is?Through Glacier Park
Mary Roberts Rinehart
Before the tunnel was built you crossed in the open air by a switchback line.From Sea to Sea
- a mountain road, railway, or track which rises and falls sharply many times or a sharp rise and fall on such a road, railway, or track
- another word (esp Brit) for big dipper
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
Word Origin and History for switchback
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper