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switch



Pronunciation: (swich), [key]
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.

v.t.
1. to whip or beat with a switch or the like; lash: He switched the boy with a cane.
2. to move, swing, or whisk (a cane, a fishing line, etc.) with a swift, lashing stroke.
3. to shift or exchange: The two girls switched their lunch boxes.
4. to turn, shift, or divert: to switch conversation from a painful subject.
5. 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.
6. Railroads.
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).
7. Motion Pictures, Television.to shift rapidly from one camera to another in order to change camera angles or shots.

v.i.
1. to strike with or as with a switch.
2. to change direction or course; turn, shift, or change.
3. to exchange or replace something with another: He used to smoke this brand of cigarettes, but he switched.
4. to move or sway back and forth, as a cat's tail.
5. to be shifted, turned, etc., by means of a switch.
6. Basketball.to execute a switch.
7. Bridge.to lead a card of a suit different from the suit just led by oneself or one's partner.

Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.

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