[switch] n [perh. fr. MD swijch twig] (1592) 1: a slender flexible whip, rod, or twig "a riding ~"
2: an act of switching: as a: a blow with a switch b: a shift from one to another c: a change from the usual
3: a tuft of long hairs at the end of the tail of an animal (as a cow)--see cow illustration
4. a: a device made usu. of two movable rails and necessary connections and designed to turn a locomotive or train from one track to another b: a railroad siding
5: a device for making, breaking, or changing the connections in an electrical circuit
6: a heavy strand of hair used in addition to a person's own hair for some coiffures
switch vt (ca. 1611) 1: to strike or beat with or as if with a switch
2: whisk, lash "a cat ~ing its tail" 3 a (1): to turn from one railroad track to another: shunt (2): to move (cars) to different positions on the same track within terminal areas b: to make a shift in or exchange of "~ seats"
4. a: to shift to another electrical circuit by means of a switch b: to operate an electrical switch so as to turn (as a light) off or on ~ vi 1: to lash from side to side
2: to make a shift or exchange -- switch.able adj -- switch.er n