a turning, shifting, or changing: After the scandal there was a dramatic switch of votes to another candidate.
a slender growing shoot, as of a plant: A forked willow switch can supposedly be used to find water underground.
a slender, flexible shoot, rod, etc., used especially as a whip, as for corporal punishment: Discipline there was done by means of a switch.She would take a switch to the ox, but never more severely than to get its attention.
a stroke, lash, or whisking movement, with or as if with a slender, flexible rod or shoot: She was interrupted by a switch in the face from a tree branch.
Electricity. a device for turning on or off or directing an electric current or for making or breaking a circuit.
a device connecting others in a network, enabling communication among them by interrogating each received data packet for its source and destination and then routing it to the appropriate device in the network.: Compare hub (def. 7).
Also called switch state·ment . (in a program or piece of code) a structure permitting a number of different actions as determined by the value of a particular expression.
Railroads. a track structure for diverting moving trains or rolling stock from one track to another, commonly consisting of a pair of movable rails.
Bridge. a change to a suit other than the one played or bid previously.
Basketball. a maneuver in which two teammates on defense shift assignments so that each guards the opponent usually guarded by the other.
a hairpiece consisting of a bunch or tress of long hair or some substitute, fastened together at one end and worn by women to supplement their own hair.
a tuft of hair at the end of the tail of some animals, as of the cow or lion.
(especially in BDSM) a person who is willing to take either a dominant or a submissive role in a sexual relationship.
(in the LGBTQ community) a person who is willing to take either a penetrative or a receptive role in a particular sexual act, especially anal intercourse.
to shift or exchange: The two girls switched their lunch boxes.
to turn, shift, or divert: to switch conversation from a painful subject.
Electricity. to connect, disconnect, or redirect (an electric circuit or the device it serves) by operating a switch (often followed by off or on): I switched on a light.
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).
Movies, Television. to shift rapidly from one camera to another in order to change camera angles or shots.
to whip or beat with a switch or the like; lash: He switched the boy with a cane.
to move, swing, or whisk (a cane, a fishing line, etc.) with a swift, lashing stroke.
to change direction or course; turn, shift, or change.
to exchange or replace something with another: He still eats a lot of potato chips, but he's switched to a brand that's lower in salt.
to make a stroke or strokes with or as with a switch.
to move or sway back and forth, as a cat's tail.
to be shifted, turned, etc., by means of a switch.
Basketball. to execute a switch.
Bridge. to lead a card of a suit different from the suit just led by oneself or one's partner.
Idioms about 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.
- switch·a·ble, adjective
- switch·er, noun
- switch·like, adjective
- un·switch·a·ble, adjective
- un·switched, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use switch in a sentence
Researchers have thought that those three varieties of cell death were triggered by different biochemical switches.How two immune system chemicals may trigger COVID-19’s deadly cytokine storms | Tina Hesman Saey | October 30, 2020 | Science News
MagSafe would need to gain much wider adoption before a wholesale switch makes any real sense for consumers, but it could definitely happen down the road and I’m cautiously optimistic about the prospect.The iPhone 12 Pro is a big upgrade even without the 5G hype | Stan Horaczek | October 28, 2020 | Popular-Science
The inserted switch boosted almost 20-fold how much protein the UCP1 gene made.Gene editing can alter body fat and may fight diabetes | Silke Schmidt | October 23, 2020 | Science News For Students
The pandemic was the reason for the mass switch to early and mail-in voting this time around.The 2020 election could permanently change how America votes | Bobbie Johnson | October 20, 2020 | MIT Technology Review
Some publishers have already found the switch to contextual ads to be a good news story for their revenues.IAB Europe’s ad tracking consent framework found to fail GDPR standard | Natasha Lomas | October 16, 2020 | TechCrunch
In Maryland, there have been reports of voting machines switching voters from Republicans to Democrats.Brace Yourself: October Election Surprises Surely on the Way | Matt Lewis | October 31, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
King has caucused with the Democrats since being elected in 2012 but has said he is open to switching sides.The Independents Who Could Tip the Senate in November | Linda Killian | October 13, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
“If someone drinks [more than] 20 ounces of soda per day, switching them to diet soda will help weight loss,” Roussell says.
Since switching the doorknobs, Hoffman says, Alexa and everyone else in the household sleeps better.Is It Wrong for Parents to Lock Up Their Disabled Kids? | Elizabeth Picciuto | August 4, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
I keep switching from provider to provider, hoping to find one that will meet even my basic needs.25 Things I Want from an Online Music Service (and Almost Never Get) | Ted Gioia | June 30, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
The old white horse was switching and stamping and shuddering in his constant and futile battle against flies.Mystery Ranch | Arthur Chapman
Varied border edges may be made by switching the straws in any direction desired.Philippine Mats | Hugo H. Miller
He went quickly into his bedroom, switching on the light, to get a glass of water.The Daffodil Mystery | Edgar Wallace
The musicians played energetically, switching now from the hymn to their unofficial little ditty.Pagan Passions | Gordon Randall Garrett
There he was, strolling along the graveled walk near the fountain, switching his cane impatiently.Through the Wall | Cleveland Moffett
British Dictionary definitions for switch
a mechanical, electrical, electronic, or optical device for opening or closing a circuit or for diverting energy from one part of a circuit to another
a swift and usually sudden shift or change
an exchange or swap
a flexible rod or twig, used esp for punishment
the sharp movement or blow of such an instrument
a tress of false hair used to give added length or bulk to a woman's own hairstyle
the tassel-like tip of the tail of cattle and certain other animals
any of various card games in which the suit is changed during play
US and Canadian a railway siding
US and Canadian a railway point
Australian informal See switchboard
to shift, change, turn aside, or change the direction of (something)
to exchange (places); replace (something by something else): the battalions switched fronts
mainly US and Canadian to transfer (rolling stock) from one railway track to another
(tr) to cause (an electric current) to start or stop flowing or to change its path by operating a switch
to swing or cause to swing, esp back and forth
(tr) to lash or whip with or as if with a switch
- switcher, noun
- switchlike, adjective
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
Other Idioms and Phrases with switch
In addition to the idioms beginning with switch
- switch off
- switch on
- asleep at the switch
- bait and switch
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.