views updated May 29 2018

switch / swich/ • n. 1. a device for making and breaking the connection in an electric circuit: the guard hit a switch and the gate swung open. ∎  Comput. a program variable that activates or deactivates a certain function of a program.2. an act of adopting one policy or way of life, or choosing one type of item, in place of another; a change, esp. a radical one: his friends were surprised at his switch from newspaper owner to farmer.3. a slender flexible shoot cut from a tree.4. a junction of two railroad tracks, with a pair of linked tapering rails that can be moved laterally to allow a train to pass from one line to the other.5. a tress of false or detached hair tied at one end, used in hairdressing to supplement natural hair.• v. [tr.] 1. change the position, direction, or focus of: the company switched the boats to other routes. ∎  adopt (something different) in place of something else; change: she's managed to switch careers. ∎  [intr.] adopt a new policy, position, way of life, etc.: she worked as a librarian and then switched to journalism. ∎  substitute (two items) for each other; exchange: after ten minutes, listener and speaker switch roles.2. archaic beat or flick with or as if with a switch.PHRASAL VERBS: switch something off turn off an electrical device. ∎  (switch off) inf. cease to pay attention: as he waffles on, I switch off.switch something on turn on an electrical device.DERIVATIVES: switch·a·ble adj.


views updated May 23 2018

1. Usually an electronic or electromechanical device that is used to connect or disconnect an electric current to an electric circuit (see also optical switch). An electronic switch can present either an effective open circuit or closed circuit depending on the status of an applied “select” signal. These switches are often used to provide isolation between low- and high-voltage switching circuits or to allow remote control of electric systems.

The word is also used as a verb, followed by a suitable preposition.

2. A type of branch with a choice of many places to which control may be passed. The destination of the branch is determined by the value of some variable. Most high-level languages have a means of doing this: Algol 60 has switch variables, Fortran has computed GOTOs, and several other languages, such as C, Pascal, and Ada, have case statements.

3. To undergo or cause to undergo switching.


views updated May 17 2018

Switch ★★★ 1991 (R)

A chauvinist louse, slain by the girlfriends he misused, is sent back to Earth as an alluring female to learn the other side's point of view. The plot may lack urgency, but this is a sparkling adult comedy that scores as it pursues the gimmicky concept to a logical, outrageous and touching conclusion. Barkin's act as swaggering male stuck in a woman's body is a masterwork of physical humor. 104m/C VHS, DVD . Ellen Barkin, Jimmy Smits, JoBeth Williams, Lorraine Bracco, Perry King, Bruce Payne, Tony Roberts; D: Blake Edwards; W: Blake Edwards; C: Dick Bush; M: Henry Mancini.


views updated May 17 2018

switching Any of various communication techniques that provide point to point transmission between dynamically changing data sources and sinks. See also packet switching, message switching, circuit switching.


views updated May 18 2018

switch slender tapering riding-whip XVI; thin flexible shoot XVII; mechanical device for altering direction XVIII; long bunch or coil of hair XIX. In early use also swits, switz; prob. — LG. word repr. by swutsche, var. of swukse long thin stick. Comp. switchback form of railway used on steep slopes, in which the train or car can be ‘switched back’ (BACK adv.) or reversed. XIX.