Other forms: switched; switching; switches

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.

Definitions of switch
  1. noun
    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
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    switch for reversing the direction of an electric current
    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
    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
  2. noun
    railroad track having two movable rails and necessary connections; used to turn a train from one track to another or to store rolling stock
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    type of:
    railroad, railroad track, railway
    a line of track providing a runway for wheels
  3. verb
    cause to go on or to be engaged or set in operation
    switch on the light”
    synonyms: flip, throw
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    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
    cause to cease operating
    type of:
    engage, lock, mesh, operate
    keep engaged
  4. verb
    change over, change around, as to a new order or sequence
    synonyms: exchange, switch over
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    type of:
    change by reversal, reverse, turn
    change to the contrary
  5. verb
    exchange or give (something) in exchange for
    synonyms: swap, swop, trade
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    type of:
    change, exchange, interchange
    give to, and receive from, one another
  6. verb
    make a shift in or exchange of
    “then we switched
    synonyms: change over, shift
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    shift to a counterclockwise direction
    shift to a clockwise direction
    type of:
    alter, change, modify
    cause to change; make different; cause a transformation
  7. verb
    reverse (a direction, attitude, or course of action)
    synonyms: alternate, flip, flip-flop, interchange, tack
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    type of:
    change by reversal, reverse, turn
    change to the contrary
  8. verb
    lay aside, abandon, or leave for another
    “She switched psychiatrists”
    synonyms: change, shift
    change, commute, convert, exchange
    exchange or replace with another, usually of the same kind or category
    change clothes; put on different clothes
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    make or undergo a transition (from one state or system to another)
    change gears
    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
    make an abrupt change of image or sound
    change directions suddenly
    undergo breaking
    cut away
    move quickly to another scene or focus when filming
  9. noun
    the act of changing one thing or position for another
    synonyms: shift, switching
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    a sudden unexpected switch
    type of:
    the action of changing something
  10. noun
    an event in which one thing is substituted for another
    synonyms: permutation, replacement, substitution, transposition
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    type of:
    fluctuation, variation
    an instance of change; the rate or magnitude of change
  11. noun
    a basketball maneuver; two defensive players shift assignments so that each guards the player usually guarded by the other
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    type of:
    basketball play
    a play executed by a basketball team
  12. noun
    a flexible implement used as an instrument of punishment
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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
    a stiff switch used to hit students as punishment
    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
  13. verb
    flog with or as if with a flexible rod
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    type of:
    flog, lash, lather, slash, strap, trounce, welt, whip
    beat severely with a whip or rod
  14. noun
    hairpiece consisting of a tress of false hair; used by women to give shape to a coiffure
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    type of:
    false hair, hairpiece, postiche
    a covering or bunch of human or artificial hair used for disguise or adornment




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DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘switch'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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