• WordNet 3.6
    • v switch reverse (a direction, attitude, or course of action)
    • v switch change over, change around, as to a new order or sequence
    • v switch make a shift in or exchange of; then we switched" "First Joe led"
    • v switch lay aside, abandon, or leave for another "switch to a different brand of beer","She switched psychiatrists","The car changed lanes"
    • v switch flog with or as if with a flexible rod
    • v switch cause to go on or to be engaged or set in operation "switch on the light","throw the lever"
    • v switch exchange or give (something) in exchange for
    • n switch the act of changing one thing or position for another "his switch on abortion cost him the election"
    • n switch a basketball maneuver; two defensive players shift assignments so that each guards the player usually guarded by the other
    • n switch a flexible implement used as an instrument of punishment
    • n switch control consisting of a mechanical or electrical or electronic device for making or breaking or changing the connections in a circuit
    • n switch railroad track having two movable rails and necessary connections; used to turn a train from one track to another or to store rolling stock
    • n switch hairpiece consisting of a tress of false hair; used by women to give shape to a coiffure
    • n switch an event in which one thing is substituted for another "the replacement of lost blood by a transfusion of donor blood"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: When telephone companies first began hiring telephone operators, they chose teenage boys for the job. They switched to women because the teenage boys were wrestling instead of working and pulling pranks on callers
    • Switch (Elec) A device for shifting an electric current to another circuit, or for making and breaking a circuit.
    • Switch (Railways) A movable part of a rail; or of opposite rails, for transferring cars from one track to another.
    • Switch A separate mass or trees of hair, or of some substance (at jute) made to resemble hair, worn on the head by women.
    • Switch 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 ."
    • Switch (Eccl) To shift to another circuit.
    • Switch To strike with a switch or small flexible rod; to whip.
    • Switch To swing or whisk; as, to switch a cane.
    • Switch To trim, as, a hedge.
    • Switch 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.
    • v. i Switch To walk with a jerk.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Every eleven years the magnetic poles of the sun switch. This cycle is called "Solarmax".
    • n switch A small flexible twig or rod.
    • n switch A mechanical device for shifting a moving body, or a current of electricity, etc., from one course or track to another. Specifically— In railroads, in its simplest form, two parallel lengths of rails joined together by rods, pivoted at one end, and free to move at the other end, forming a part of the track at its junction with a branch or siding. The switch-rails rest on metal plates laid on the sleepers, and, by means of a rod fastened to their free ends, can be moved sidewise. The ends of the next pair of rails and the ends of the first pair of the siding or branch are placed side by side, so that by the movement of the switch either pair may be brought in line with the track, and any car or engine passing the switch will be guided upon the rails to which the switch is directed. Such a switch may be used to connect several lines of rails. The objection to this form of switch is that a car moving on a track not connected with the switch is liable to be derailed by running off the open ends of the track. This has led to the adoption of safety-switches, of which there are various forms. One of the most common of these is the split switch, in which the ends of the rails, instead of being square, are drawn out (split) to a thin edge so as to lie close against the side of the next rail. The narrow rails used are flexible and are fitted with springs, so that in the event of a displacement of the switch the lateral pressure of the wheels will cause the points to move back and thus keep the wheels on the line, the points returning to their original position by the recoil of the springs. Another form of safety-switch is designed to keep unbroken the track of the main line, so that the main-line rails are not cut at all. To use this form of switch the levers are moved, and the car rises on an inclined rail and passes over the main rails to the siding. A great number of devices have been invented to make switches more safe, to render them automatic (as at the terminus of a line where the engine is to be shifted to the other end of a train), to render them interlocking, so that no one switch of a system can be opened without locking all others, and to connect them with signals and annunciators. Switches in one yard are now commonly controlled by means of long levers with a central tower from which one switchman can see and control them all.
    • n switch In some forms of gas-burner, a key for controlling the amount of gas allowed to pass through.
    • n switch The act of operating a switch: as, to make a flying switch. See phrase below.
    • n switch A quantity of long hair, secured together at one end, worn by women with their own hair to make it look thicker. Jute or yak is sometimes used with or in place of hair, being cheaper.
    • switch To strike with a small twig or rod; beat; lash; hence, to cut or drive as with a switch.
    • switch To swing; whisk.
    • switch To trim, as a hedge.
    • switch In railroading, to transfer by a switch; transfer from one line of rails to another.
    • switch In electricity, to shift to another circuit; shunt.
    • switch To cut at; strike at.
    • switch To move off on a switch, or as if on a switch.
    • n switch In electricity, a device for opening or closing an electric circuit, for reversing the direction of the current in such a circuit, for shifting current from one branch of a circuit to another, or, in general, for making, breaking, or shifting electrical connections. Switches vary greatly in design according to the conditions to be met. In general a switch differs from a key (which is a device for the easy and rapid making or breaking of a circuit, as in telegraphic signaling) in that it is so constructed that the circuit when broken shall remain open and when made shall remain closed until the reverse operation is performed. A switch should be so constructed as to carry permanently without excessive heating the maximum eurrent of the circuit in which it is placed, and the contacts should be of such low resistance that they will not become appreciably hot on the passage of the current. Good contact is sometimes secured by the use of a ‘mercury-switch’ in which the terminals of the lines to be connected are permanently attached to metallic capsules filled with mercury. When the circuit is to be closed connection between the mercury-cups is made by means of a short copper bar or link with ends bent downward so as to dip into the mercury. The volatilization of the mercury by the spark formed when the circuit is opened is a serious objection to mercury-switches and the ‘knife-switch’ is therefore more frequently used. It consists of a strip of copper, the knife, hinged at one end, or sometimes of two or more such knives mounted parallel to one another. The free end of the knife enters with considerable friction between the jaws of a copper clip when the circuit is to be closed, the friction serving to secure good contact between the metallic surfaces and to bold the knife in place. On high-tension circuits various devices are employed to prevent the formation of an arc when the circuit is open or to extinguish the arc when formed. One such device is the ‘snap-switch,’ in which, in order to make contact, a powerful spring is compressed and the switch is locked by a simple mechanism. When unlocked, the spring opens the switch with great suddenness, and the arc is of short duration. Sometimes a magnetic blow-out is used to extinguish the arc and sometimes an ‘oil-break switch’ is employed in which the opening of the circuit is made under oil. Automatic switches are frequently used in connection with electrical machinery. In the case of such switches the operation, whether it consist of the opening or closing of a circuit, the reversal of current, or the shifting of connections from one circuit to another, is done mechanically, either by the direct action of electromagnets or by mechanism released and set in motion by such magnets or otherwise.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: In the last three centuries, 90% of all people living in the Western world have switched from tea to coffee.
    • n Switch swich a small flexible twig: a movable rail for transferring a carriage from one line of rails to another: a device to make or break a circuit, or transfer an electric current from one conductor to another
    • v.t Switch to strike with a switch: to swing, whisk: to transfer a carriage from one line of rails to another by a switch: to shift from one circuit to another, or in or out of circuit, as an electric current, to shunt
    • ***


  • Denis Waitley
    “If you believe you can, you probably can. If you believe you won t, you most assuredly won t. Belief is the ignition switch that gets you off the launching pad.”
  • Dorothy Sarnoff
    Dorothy Sarnoff
    “Never try to look into both eyes at the same time. Switch your gaze from one eye to the other. That signals warmth and sincerity.”
  • Ivern Ball
    Ivern Ball
    “Knowledge is power, but enthusiasm pulls the switch.”
  • Samuel Beckett
    “Make sense who may. I switch off.”
  • Groucho Marx
    “I find television very educational. Every time someone switches it on I go into another room and read a good book.”


Asleep at the switch - If someone is asleep at the switch, they are not doing their job or taking their responsibilities very carefully. 'Asleep at the wheel' is an alternative.


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Cf. OD. swick, a scourage, a whip. Cf. Swink Swing


In literature:

Melbourne went to a door at one end of the room and opened it, switching on a light.
"The Chamber of Life" by Green Peyton Wertenbaker
Could he not reach the switch itself, and throw it back just before the train was due?
"The Young Railroaders" by Francis Lovell Coombs
He switched on the light, but stood still in the doorway.
"The Secret House" by Edgar Wallace
He flicked a switch and opened up his viewports again.
"Next Door, Next World" by Robert Donald Locke
He crope up en he crope 'roun', en bimeby he see de Hoss switch he tail, en den Brer Rabbit know he aint dead.
"Nights With Uncle Remus" by Joel Chandler Harris
As he did so he switched on a lamp almost above the lad's head.
"The Submarine Hunters" by Percy F. Westerman
R. R. switch to N. E. 700 yds.
"Manual of Military Training" by James A. Moss
It was, indeed, the longed-for freight train; puffing laboriously, it came up to the station and was quickly switched off to a siding.
"Chasing an Iron Horse" by Edward Robins
That one exception is installing a wall switch, the ordinary snap switch.
"Electricity for the farm" by Frederick Irving Anderson
Field switched up the electric lights and made a survey of the rooms.
"The Slave of Silence" by Fred M. White

In poetry:

Who switched at Psyche plunging in the sun;
Uncrowned three lilies with a backward swinge;
And standing somewhat widely, like to one
More used to "Boot and Saddle" than to cringe
"The Sun-Dial" by Henry Austin Dobson
Each time that I switch on the light
A Miracle it seems to me
That I should rediscover sight
And banish dark so utterly.
One moment I am bleakly blind,
The next—exultant life I find.
"Miracles" by Robert W Service
Hoarse drooping darkness hung me with a shroud
And switched at me with shrivelled leaves in scorn.
Red morning stole beneath a grinning cloud,
And suddenly clambering over dike and thorn
"The Giant Puff-Ball" by Edmund Blunden
Or going up to some apartment, yours
or yours, finding
someone sitting in the dark:
who is it really? So you switch the light on to see: you know the name but
who is it ?
But you won't see.
"People at Night" by Denise Levertov
(It's night there now.) Beyond your sultry neck.
(They went to bed.) Behind your shoulders' realm.
(Switched off the light.) At dawn, I'd give them back.
The porch would touch them with a sleepy stem.
"My desk is not so wide that I might lean" by Boris Pasternak
For 'e never seemed a-thinkin' of what 'e 'ad to do.
But 'is thoughts was set on 'igher things, admirin' of the view.
'E looked a puffect pictur, and a pictur 'e would stay,
'E wouldn't even switch 'is tail to drive the flies away.
"The Groom's Story" by Arthur Conan Doyle

In news:

Researchers find 'on switch' for cancer cell growth.
Canonical adds a 'kill switch' for Ubuntu's Amazon search.
I recently switched to a new iMac -- do I need to buy Office for Mac to read Word files.
Kenady Hall is no stranger to switching from the bigger, powerhouse teams to relatively smaller, underdog teams.
The News & Record will be switching to a new web publishing system next week.
Maya Donato switches off with Julia Belanoff at playing the title role in the stage musical version of Coraline.
Transparency on costs could lead to unbundling, provider switches.
The first time the University of Maryland switched athletic conferences more than a half century ago, it had little choice but to make the move.
Harry Bradley flipped a switch to light up the tower.
Agencies face clunky switch to agile IT development.
Even utilities in Kentucky are switching to cheaper, cleaner burning natural gas.
It's even possible to switch over to savory, as with the Butternut Squash Cobbler .
Why are increasing numbers of athletes and yoga enthusiasts switching to coconut water .
A few switches that can really compute .
That's when she discovered she'd aided a bait and switch.

In science:

If we use the first braid rule σiσj = σj σi , then we must switch the two appropriate switching pairs.
Identifying Half-Twists Using Randomized Algorithm Methods
If we use the second braid rule σiσi+1σi = σi+1σiσi+1 , then we must switch the two switching pairs assigned to the two ends of the sequence.
Identifying Half-Twists Using Randomized Algorithm Methods
The switching sequence to implement any such encoded single-qubit operation can readily be derived using the strategy outlined above, which yields the result that only four switches are necessary, corresponding to the solution found by numerical arguments in .
Generation of quantum logic operations from physical Hamiltonians
Given linkings f : S → T and f ′ : S ′ → T ′ , the leaf function f ⊗ f ′ : S ⊗ S ′ → T ⊗ T ′ is a well-defined linking since every switching of f ⊗ f ′ is a disjoint union of switchings of f and f ′ , connected at the tensor of T ⊗ T ′ , together with one of the two argument edges of the tensor of S ⊗ S ′ .
Simple free star-autonomous categories and full coherence
If v is a ∗-vertex, the result is immediate since switchings of f correspond to switchings of f ′ .
Simple free star-autonomous categories and full coherence