1. A small, flexible twig or rod.
Mauritania, on the fifth medal, leads a horse with something like a thread; in her other hand she holds a switch. --Addison.
2. Railways A movable part of a rail; or of opposite rails, for transferring cars from one track to another.
3. A separate mass or trees of hair, or of some substance (at jute) made to resemble hair, worn on the head by women.
4. Elec. A device for shifting an electric current to another circuit, or for making and breaking a circuit.
Safety switch Railways, a form of switch contrived to prevent or lessen the danger of derailment of trains.
Switch back Railways, an arrangement of tracks whereby elevations otherwise insurmountable are passed. The track ascends by a series of zigzags, the engine running alternately forward and back, until the summit is reached.
Switch board Elec., a collection of switches in one piece of apparatus, so arranged that a number of circuits may be connected or combined in any desired manner.
Switch grass. Bot. See under Grass.
Switch, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Switched p. pr. & vb. n. Switching.]
1. To strike with a switch or small flexible rod; to whip.
2. To swing or whisk; as, to switch a cane.
3. To trim, as, a hedge. [Prov. Eng.]
4. To turn from one railway track to another; to transfer by a switch; -- generally with off, from, etc.; as, to switch off a train; to switch a car from one track to another.
5. Eccl. To shift to another circuit.
Switch, v. i. To walk with a jerk. [Prov. Eng.]
n 1: control consisting of a mechanical or electrical or
electronic device for making or breaking or changing the
connections in a circuit [syn: electric switch, electrical
2: an event in which one thing is substituted for another; "the
replacement of lost blood by a transfusion of donor blood"
[syn: substitution, permutation, transposition, replacement]
3: hairpiece consisting of a tress of false hair; used by women
to give shape to a coiffure
4: railroad track having two movable rails and necessary
connections; used to turn a train from one track to
another or to store rolling stock
5: a flexible implement used as an instrument of punishment
6: a basketball maneuver; two defensive players shift
assignments so that each guards the player usually guarded
by the other
7: the act of changing one thing or position for another; "his
switch on abortion cost him the election" [syn: switching,
v 1: change over, change around, or switch over [syn: switch
2: exchange or give (something) in exchange for [syn: trade,
3: lay aside, abandon, or leave for another; "switch to a
different brand of beer"; "She switched psychiatrists";
"The car changed lanes" [syn: shift, change]
4: make a shift in or exchange of; "First Joe led; then we
switched" [syn: change over, shift]
5: cause to go on or to be engaged or set in operation; "switch
on the light"; "throw the lever" [syn: throw, flip]
6: flog with or as if with a flexible rod
7: reverse (a direction, attitude, or course of action) [syn: interchange,
tack, alternate, flip, flip-flop]