switch

If you and your friend are seated separately on an airplane, you can always ask a stranger if they will switch seats with you. To switch is to change or exchange.

Switch can be a noun or verb, and in most cases it has the meaning of change. You can switch classes, political parties, or the radio station. Sometimes if you switch something with someone, they take yours and you take theirs — as in an exchange or trade. However, there is one unrelated and frightening meaning for the word. In the olden days, a form of punishment was to be hit with a thin, flexible, piece of wood called a switch.

PRIMARY MEANINGS OF: switch

1
nv
control consisting of a mechanical or electrical or electronic device for making or breaking or changing the connections in a circuit
cause to go on or to be engaged or set in operation
2
vn
change over, change around, as to a new order or sequence
the act of changing one thing or position for another
3
nv
a flexible implement used as an instrument of punishment
flog with or as if with a flexible rod
4
n
hairpiece consisting of a tress of false hair; used by women to give shape to a coiffure
FULL DEFINITIONS OF: switch
1

n control consisting of a mechanical or electrical or electronic device for making or breaking or changing the connections in a circuit

Synonyms:
electric switch, electrical switch
Types:
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commutator
switch for reversing the direction of an electric current
cutout
a switch that interrupts an electric circuit in the event of an overload
ignition switch
switch that operates a solenoid that closes a circuit to operate the starter
button, push, push button
an electrical switch operated by pressing
selector, selector switch
a switch that is used to select among alternatives
three-point switch, three-way switch
an electric switch that has three terminals; used to control a circuit from two different locations
time-switch
a switch set to operate at a desired time
on-off switch, on/off switch, toggle, toggle switch
a hinged switch that can assume either of two positions
bell push
a button that is pushed to ring a bell
dial, telephone dial
a disc on a telephone that is rotated a fixed distance for each number called
DIP switch, dual inline package switch
(computer science) one of a set of small on-off switches mounted in computer hardware; used in place of jumpers to configure the machine for a user
bell, buzzer, doorbell
a push button at an outer door that gives a ringing or buzzing signal when pushed
horn button
a button that you press to activate the horn of an automobile
mouse button
a push button on the mouse
panic button
a button to push in order to summon help in case of an emergency
reset button
a push button that you press to activate the reset mechanism
Type of:
control, controller
a mechanism that controls the operation of a machine

n railroad track having two movable rails and necessary connections; used to turn a train from one track to another or to store rolling stock

Type of:
railroad, railroad track, railway
a line of track providing a runway for wheels

v cause to go on or to be engaged or set in operation

switch on the light”
Synonyms:
flip, throw
Types:
switch on, turn on
cause to operate by flipping a switch
cut, switch off, turn off, turn out
cause to stop operating by disengaging a switch
kill
cause to cease operating
Type of:
engage, lock, mesh, operate
keep engaged
2

v change over, change around, as to a new order or sequence

Synonyms:
exchange, switch over
Type of:
change by reversal, reverse, turn
change to the contrary

v exchange or give (something) in exchange for

Synonyms:
swap, swop, trade
Type of:
change, exchange, interchange
give to, and receive from, one another

v make a shift in or exchange of

“then we switched
Synonyms:
change over, shift
Types:
back
shift to a counterclockwise direction
veer
shift to a clockwise direction
Type of:
alter, change, modify
cause to change; make different; cause a transformation

v reverse (a direction, attitude, or course of action)

Synonyms:
alternate, flip, flip-flop, interchange, tack
Type of:
change by reversal, reverse, turn
change to the contrary

v lay aside, abandon, or leave for another

switch to a different brand of beer”
“She switched psychiatrists”
Synonyms:
change, shift
change, commute, convert, exchange
exchange or replace with another, usually of the same kind or category
change
change clothes; put on different clothes
Types:
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transition
make or undergo a transition (from one state or system to another)
shift
change gears
break
change suddenly from one tone quality or register to another
channel-surf, surf
switch channels, on television
jump, leap
pass abruptly from one state or topic to another
diphthongise, diphthongize
change from a simple vowel to a diphthong
cut
make an abrupt change of image or sound
break
change directions suddenly
break
undergo breaking
cut away
move quickly to another scene or focus when filming

n the act of changing one thing or position for another

“his switch on abortion cost him the election”
Synonyms:
shift, switching
Types:
switcheroo
a sudden unexpected switch
Type of:
change
the action of changing something

n an event in which one thing is substituted for another

Synonyms:
permutation, replacement, substitution, transposition
Type of:
fluctuation, variation
an instance of change; the rate or magnitude of change

n a basketball maneuver; two defensive players shift assignments so that each guards the player usually guarded by the other

Type of:
basketball play
a play executed by a basketball team
3

n a flexible implement used as an instrument of punishment

Types:
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birch, birch rod
a switch consisting of a twig or a bundle of twigs from a birch tree; used to hit people as punishment
cane
a stiff switch used to hit students as punishment
ferule
a switch (a stick or cane or flat paddle) used to punish children
ratan, rattan
a switch made from the stems of the rattan palms
Type of:
instrument of punishment
an instrument designed and used to punish a condemned person

v flog with or as if with a flexible rod

Type of:
flog, lash, lather, slash, strap, trounce, welt, whip
beat severely with a whip or rod
4

n hairpiece consisting of a tress of false hair; used by women to give shape to a coiffure

Type of:
false hair, hairpiece, postiche
a covering or bunch of human or artificial hair used for disguise or adornment
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