— switchable , adj. — switcher , n. — switchlike , adj.
/swich/ , n.
1. a slender, flexible shoot, rod, etc., used esp. in whipping or disciplining.
2. an act of whipping or beating with or as with such an object; a stroke, lash, or whisking movement.
3. a slender growing shoot, as of a plant.
4. a hairpiece consisting of a bunch or tress of long hair or some substitute, fastened together at one end and worn by women to supplement their own hair.
5. Elect. a device for turning on or off or directing an electric current or for making or breaking a circuit.
6. Railroads. a track structure for diverting moving trains or rolling stock from one track to another, commonly consisting of a pair of movable rails.
7. a turning, shifting, or changing: a switch of votes to another candidate.
8. Bridge. a change to a suit other than the one played or bid previously.
9. Basketball. a maneuver in which two teammates on defense shift assignments so that each guards the opponent usually guarded by the other.
10. a tuft of hair at the end of the tail of some animals, as of the cow or lion.
11. asleep at the switch , Informal. failing to perform one's duty, missing an opportunity, etc., because of negligence or inattention: He lost the contract because he was asleep at the switch.
12. to whip or beat with a switch or the like; lash: He switched the boy with a cane.
13. to move, swing, or whisk (a cane, a fishing line, etc.) with a swift, lashing stroke.
14. to shift or exchange: The two girls switched their lunch boxes.
15. to turn, shift, or divert: to switch conversation from a painful subject.
16. Elect. to connect, disconnect, or redirect (an electric circuit or the device it serves) by operating a switch (often fol. by off or on ): I switched on a light.
a. to move or transfer (a train, car, etc.) from one set of tracks to another.
b. to drop or add (cars) or to make up (a train).
18. Motion Pictures , Television. to shift rapidly from one camera to another in order to change camera angles or shots.
19. to strike with or as with a switch.
20. to change direction or course; turn, shift, or change.
21. to exchange or replace something with another: He used to smoke this brand of cigarettes, but he switched.
22. to move or sway back and forth, as a cat's tail.
23. to be shifted, turned, etc., by means of a switch.
24. Basketball. to execute a switch.
25. Bridge. to lead a card of a suit different from the suit just led by oneself or one's partner.
[ 1585-95; earlier swits, switz slender riding whip, flexible stick; cf. LG (Hanoverian) schwutsche long, thin stick ]
Syn. 7. change, shift, alternation, substitution.