switchback

[ swich-bak ]
/ ˈswɪtʃˌbæk /
|

noun

a highway, as in a mountainous area, having many hairpin curves.
Railroads. a zigzag track arrangement for climbing a steep grade.
British. roller coaster.

verb (used without object)

(of a road, railroad track, etc.) to progress through a series of hairpin curves; zigzag: The road switchbacks up the mountain.

Nearby words

  1. switch yard,
  2. switch-hit,
  3. switch-hitter,
  4. switch-off,
  5. switch-on,
  6. switchblade,
  7. switchboard,
  8. switched-on,
  9. switched-star,
  10. switcheroo

Origin of switchback

An Americanism dating back to 1860–65; switch + back2

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for switchback


British Dictionary definitions for switchback

switchback

/ (ˈswɪtʃˌbæk) /

noun

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

switchback

adj.

reference to zig-zag railways, 1863, from switch (v.) + back (adv.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper