From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishswitchswitch1 /swɪtʃ/ ●●● S2 W3 verb 1 [intransitive, transitive]CHANGE FROM ONE THING TO ANOTHER to change from doing or using one thing to doing or using anotherswitch to She worked as a librarian before switching to journalism.switch from something to something Duval could switch easily from French to English.switch between something and something He switches between TV and theatre work. The terrorists will switch tactics.switch sides/allegiance (=start supporting a different person, party etc) He switched sides just days before the election.switch attention/focus/emphasis We want to switch focus away from criticism.2 [transitive]REPLACE to replace one thing with another, or exchange things SYN changeswitch something for something Tim may switch his BMW for something else.switch something from something to something We’ve switched the meeting from Tuesday to Thursday.switch something around It’s not easy to switch clerical workers around.3 [intransitive, transitive] American English if you switch with someone who does the same job as you, you exchange your working times with theirs for a short time SYN swapswitch with Tom said he’d switch with me on Saturday. He asked if we could switch shifts.4 [transitive always + adverb/preposition] to change the way a machine operates, using a switchswitch something to something Switch the freezer to ‘defrost’.COLLOCATIONSnounsswitch sides (=start supporting someone or something else)Three senators switched sides and voted for the ban.switch (your) allegiance (=start supporting someone else)Most of his supporters had switched their allegiance to his rival.switch channels (=start watching a different TV channel)Rod switched channels with the remote control.switch tacticsSensing that his victim was going to escape him, he switched tactics.switch your attention/focus to somethingLaura wasn't interested so he switched his attention to Tessa.switch brands46% of consumers surveyed were likely to switch brands to support companies they saw as socially responsible, the emphasis switches/is switched to somethingThe emphasis has switched to defence. → switch off → switch on → switch over→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpusswitch• Solbourne's product allows developers to create graphical user interfaces that dynamically switch between Motif and Open Look.• He switched easily and fluently from speaking English to French to German.• Then he switched his own torch off.• He went inside to her living room, switched off the lights on the bushes, and locked the front door.• We switched seats halfway through the show.• He parked close to where the land sloped downwards to a narrow pebble beach, and switched the engine off.• He was accused of switching the price labels on goods.• It was still switched through to the secretary's office, and it took an infuriatingly long time to get a line.• Would Parcells select either one, make Willie McGinest a defensive end and switch to a 4-3 defense?• She switched to forward when she joined the Tiburon Tornadoes at 14.• As a result, most of these countries have switched to orthodox fiscal and monetary policies to curb inflation.• It took a long time for Americans to switch to smaller cars.• I used to play golf but I switched to tennis to get more exercise.• Professor Rigby's talk may be switched to the main hall.• We must have switched umbrellas by mistake.switch attention/focus/emphasis• I will switch emphasis from attending Branch meetings to meeting on a one to one basis with these people in each branch.switch something from something to something• He switched over from manual to remote operation, putting Betty now under control of Hal.switch something to something• Switch the oven to "broil."switchswitch2 ●●● S3 noun [countable] 1 on/offSWITCH ON OR OFF a piece of equipment that starts or stops the flow of electricity to a machine, light etc when you push it Where’s the light switch? an on–off switchpress/flick/throw etc a switch Tom flicked the switch, but nothing happened. She claims she is willing to throw the switch of the electric chair.at the flick of a switch (=very quickly and easily, by pressing a switch) Petrol can be chosen at the flick of a switch.2 changeCHANGE FROM ONE THING TO ANOTHER [usually singular] a complete change from one thing to another an important policy switchswitch from/to the switch from agriculture to dairy productionswitch in a switch in emphasis More shoppers are making the switch to organic food.that’s a switch American English spoken informal (=used to say that someone’s behaviour is different from usual) ‘Ed’s the only one who’s not eating.’ ‘That’s a switch!’3 railway American English a piece of railway track that can be moved to allow a train to cross over from one track to another4 stickD old-fashioned a thin stick that bends easilyCOLLOCATIONSverbspress a switchHe pressed a switch on the wall and the door opened.flick/flip a switch (=move it so something starts or stops)You start the fan by just flipping this switch.throw a switch (=move it so something starts or stops, especially something big)Could a nuclear war really be started by someone just throwing a switch?ADJECTIVES/NOUN + switch a light switchHe reached for the light switch.a dimmer switch (=a switch that can change the brightness of a light)an on-off switchI couldn’t find the on-off switch.the power switchThey have reverted to placing the mains power switch at the back of the unit.the mains switch (=one that controls the supply of electricity to a house)The mains switch is located inside a cupboard near the front door.phrasesat the flick/touch of a switch (=very quickly and easily, with a switch)The advantages of having electricity available at the flick of a switch are obvious.
Examples from the Corpusswitch• For example, if the price of metal rises too high there may be a switch to plastic.• Then, he flicked a switch and stood well back.• There is a board in the reception office, cashier's office and housekeeper's office with a switch in every bedroom.• A switch to complete different new foods may cause stomach upsets.• Jim walked over to the overhead, placed a transparency on it, and flicked on the lamp switch.• a light switch• Additional features include an IrDA interface for wireless connection and a locking switch for printer transport.• Where's the power switch?• His sudden switches of mood are difficult to deal with.• In a surprise switch, he heads into soft-edged landscape in a fifth work.• All other flying leads for the switches and indicators are at low voltage and these can be soldered directly to the p.c.b.• The switch from political activity to family life was hard to handle.• The switch to a free market economy will not be easy.at the flick of a switch• These days about 15 percent of our energy is obtained at the flick of a switch.making the switch• Even previously committed invertebrate labs like Alkon's Hermissenda group were making the switch.SwitchSwitch trademark in the past, a type of system used for paying for goods and services in the UK, by which customers used a type of plastic card called a debit card, and money was immediately taken out of their bank account. Since 2002, Switch has been replaced by Maestro, the Mastercard brand of debit card.Origin switch2 (1500-1600) Perhaps from Middle Dutch swijch “small thin stick”