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switch someone or something off
to cause someone or something to be quiet or stop doing something. I got tired of listening to her, so I punched the button and switched her off. I switched off the television set.
1. Lit. [for something] to turn itself off. At midnight, all the lights switched off automatically. The television switched off after I went to sleep.
2. Fig. [for someone] to stop paying attention; to become oblivious to everything. I got tired of listening and switched off. You could see that the audience was switching off.
Stop paying attention, lose interest, as in Whenever he starts in on economics, I switch off automatically. This metaphoric expression transfers turning off a light switch or similar device to diverting one's attention. [c. 1860] Also see switch on.
1. To deactivate something using a switch: We switched off the lights before we left the house. Switch that vacuum cleaner off so you can hear what I'm saying.
2. To stop paying attention; lose interest: The whole class switched off when the professor started talking about accounting.
3. To alternate performing some task with another person: We switch off the baby-sitting every Friday so that one of us can go to the movies. It's a long drive, but if we switch off we won't get tired.
in. to become oblivious to everything. I want to go home and switch off—just forget this whole day. I have to switch off when I go home.