Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to switch: Network switch
be sleeping at the switch
To be failing to attend to one's responsibilities or duties; to be inattentive to that which is important or for which one is responsible. Johnson was supposed to make sure the paperwork went through before the deadline, but it looks like he was sleeping at the switch. Our goalkeeper is such a nincompoop. We would have won that match if he hadn't been sleeping at the switch!
fall asleep at the switch
To fail to attend to one's responsibilities or duties; to be inattentive to that which is important or for which one is responsible. Johnson was supposed to make sure the paperwork went through before the deadline, but it looks like he fell asleep at the switch. Our goalkeeper is such a nincompoop. We would have won that match if he hadn't fallen asleep at the switch!
sleeping at the switch
Failing to attend to one's responsibilities or duties; inattentive to that which is important or for which one is responsible. Johnson was supposed to make sure the paperwork went through before the deadline, but it looks like he was sleeping at the switch. Our goalkeeper is such a nincompoop. We would have won that match if he hadn't been sleeping at the switch!
bait and switch
1. A deceptive sales practice in which a store attracts customers by advertising low prices for products that are not available or are of poor quality, so that customers buy more expensive items instead. A: "Why did you buy such an expensive blender? What happened to the one that was on sale?" B: "That one is sold out and won't be available for months—the store pulled a real bait and switch."
2. Any deceptive practice in which the information initially presented is found to be untrue. I thought my favorite band was playing at this club tonight, but it turned out to be a bait and switch—it's just a cover band.
change horses in midstream
1. To choose a new leader during a period of upheaval or uncertainty. The prime minister has been at the helm throughout the crisis. I just don't think we should change horses in midstream.
2. To make major changes to a situation or course of action that is already underway. We're about to close on the house, and my husband suddenly wants to change horses in midstream and look at another property!
be asleep at the switch
To fail to attend to one's responsibilities or duties; to not do or be inattentive to that which is important or for which one is responsible. Johnson was supposed to make sure the paperwork went through on time before the deadline, but it looks like he was asleep at the switch. Our goalkeeper is such a nincompoop. We would have won if he hadn't been asleep at the switch!
asleep at the switch
Failing to attend to one's responsibilities or duties; not doing or paying attention to that which is important or for which one is responsible. Johnson was supposed to make sure the paperwork went through before the deadline, but it looks like he was asleep at the switch.
To quickly or abruptly change what one is doing or discussing. With that out of the way, let's switch gears and discuss our strategy for the third quarter. About halfway into the story, the book switches gears and begins a narrative from the perspective of the antagonist.
1. To exchange one's place or position (with someone or something else). You're a little bit taller than me, so let's switch around for the photo. The two jets switched around so that the stealth bomber was in the lead.
2. To exchange the place or position of two people or things. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "switch" and "around." The teacher switched the students around so that the taller one was in back. I think you need to switch around these two cables, and then the TV should work.
3. To alter, reorder, or rearrange something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "switch" and "around." Make sure you switch your fighting style around throughout the match in order to keep your opponent off-guard. We're going to try switching around the layout of the office this weekend—it feels too cluttered and disorganized the way it is now.
1. To disable, disconnect, or stop the function of something, with or as with a power switch. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "switch" and "off." Please switch the water off when you're done brushing your teeth. I forgot to switch off my laptop, and now the battery is dead.
2. To cease functioning or become disabled or disconnected from power automatically. The computer switches off if has been inactive for more than an hour. The lights should switch off once there's no longer any motion on the premises.
3. To become unfocused, inattentive, or disengaged. I could tell my students were starting to switch off during my class, so I brought out the projector and started using old cartoons to illustrate my points. I like watching trashy TV shows as a way of switching off after a busy day of work.
4. To share a role or task with someone, alternating when each person is responsible. My wife and I switch off putting the kids to bed each night. There are too many dishes for one person to clean all of them, so let's just switch off halfway through.
1. To activate, connect, or start the function of something, with or as with a power switch. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "switch" and "on." Would you switch on the water heater for me, please? I need to switch on the lights to see properly. Make sure you have the car in neutral before you switch it on.
2. To activate or begin functioning automatically or as if automatically. The computer switches on as soon as you wiggle the mouse. We've set the lights to switch on at 8 PM every evening while we're on vacation so people don't know the house is empty.
3. To become animated, lively, and alert, especially suddenly or on short notice. Tom was a bit at the start of dinner, but he switched on after he'd had a couple of drinks. She's such a quiet, reserved woman most of the time, but she really switches on when we all go out for dancing on the weekends.
4. To begin exuding or producing something as if connected to a power supply. Toddlers know how to switch on the cuteness after being naughty so they don't get in as much trouble. I don't have as many qualifications as some of the other applicants, so I'll definitely have to switch on the charm during the interview.
switch over (to someone or something)
1. To select or change to a different or alternative person or thing. We're switching over to a digital-only business model—producing physical products is just too costly. The studio switched over to a director who had more experience in action films. I'm going to start drinking diet soda, but I'll wait until after Christmas to switch over.
2. To cause someone or something to change or shift from one person or thing to another. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "switch" and "over." The doctors switched me over to a different medicine for my cholesterol. The company is switching everyone over to a new computer system that's supposed to be more secure.
3. To change to a particular television channel or radio station. We can switch over to your cartoon show once the news is finished. Don't switch over—I want to hear what the weather will be like this weekend.
1. To alternate between two or more languages while speaking. My mom grew up in Quebec, and though she speaks English fluently now, she still sometimes code-switches back to French mid-sentence.
2. To change one's language or manner of speaking or communication to match one's current environment or audience. Many African Americans spend their whole life code-switching. Sorry for the tween slang—I tend to code-switch when I'm around my kids.
1. The act or practice of alternating between two or more languages while speaking. My mom grew up in Quebec, and though she speaks English fluently now, she's prone to code-switching back to French mid-sentence.
2. The act or practice of changing one's language or manner of speaking or communication to match one's current environment or audience. Code-switching is an inherent part of African-American culture. Code-switching is a big part of communicating with my kids—I try to use the terms they know.
*asleep at the switch
Fig. not attending to one's job; failing to do one's duty at the proper time. (Alludes to a technician or engineer on a train sleeping instead of turning whatever switches are required. *Typically: be ~; fall ~.) The security guard fell asleep at the switch and a robber broke in. If I hadn't been asleep at the switch, I'd have noticed the car being stolen.
bait and switch
Fig. a deceptive merchandising practice where one product is advertised at a low price to get people's attention [the bait], but pressure is applied to get the customer to purchase a more expensive item. Walter described how the store used bait and switch, since they never seemed to have in stock the bargains that they advertised. Wilbur accused the merchant of bait and switch practices and stalked out of the store.
change horses in midstreamand change horses in the middle of the stream
Fig. to make major changes in an activity that has already begun; to choose someone or something else after it is too late. (Alludes to someone trying to move from one horse to another while crossing a stream.) I'm already baking a cherry pie. I can't bake an apple pie. It's too late to change horses in the middle of the stream. The house is half-built. It's too late to hire a different architect. You can't change horses in midstream. Jane: I've written a rough draft of my research paper, but the topic doesn't interest me as much as I thought. Maybe I ought to pick a different one. Jill: Don't change horses in midstream.
to change, swing, or turn around. The horse switched around and ran the other way. I switched around and sat looking the other way for a while.
switch (around) (with someone or something)
to exchange or trade with someone or something. (The optional elements cannot be transposed.) I liked Jill's lunch, and she liked mine, so I switched around with her. I liked Jill's, and she liked mine, so we switched around with each other.
switch back(to something)
1. to return to using or doing something. I decided to switch back to my old shampoo. I switched back and was glad I did.
2. [for a road] to reverse upon itself. The mountain road switched back twenty times in three miles. It switched back every now and then.
switch from someone (to someone else)
to change one's choice from one person to another. I had chosen Jeff, but I will switch from him to Judy. Tom wanted to try a new barber, so he switched from Nick to Bruno.
switch from something (to something else)
to change one's choice from one thing to another. We switched from oil to gas heat in our house. I don't like to switch from one brand to another.
switch into something
to change [one's clothes] into something else. Let me switch into something a little more dressy if we are going to a nice restaurant. I have to switch into something more comfortable.
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.
1. [for something] to turn itself on. Exactly at midnight, the lights switched on. The radio switched on early in the morning to wake us up.
2. Sl. [for someone] to become alert or excited. The wild music made all the kids switch on and start to dance. About midnight, Ed switches on and becomes a real devil.
switch over (to someone or something)
to change to or choose someone or something else. That newscaster is too contentious. Switch over to another station. Okay, I'll switch over.
switch someone or something around
to change, swing, or turn someone or something. I was prepared for a late flight out of Miami, but they switched me around at the last minute. They switched around my flights.
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.
switch someone or something over to something
to reassign, change, or convert someone or something to something. They switched me over to a later flight. I want to switch my furnace over to gas.
switch someone or something over to someone or something
to transfer electronically a signal from someone or something to someone or something else. Tom is on the line. Shall I switch him over to Jeff? Please switch the call over to my other line.
switch someone or something through
to connect someone or something with something else. I will switch you through the priority network. The operator switched the call through.
switch something back (to something)
to return something to the way it was. I switched the television back to the previous channel. I switched back the channel to what I was watching before.
switch something (from something) (in)to something
to change something from one thing into another. The magician switched the silk scarf from red into green. I would love to be able to switch lead into gold.
switch something on
to close an electrical circuit that causes something to start functioning or operating. Please switch the fan on. I switched on the fan.
switch something out
to remove something from an electrical circuit to turn it off. Please switch the light out. I switched out the light.
switch something over (to something)
to convert something to something else. We are switching our furnace over to gas. We switched over our furnace to gas.
switch something to (something else)
to change something to something else. It was hot so I switched the thermostat from heating to cooling. Mary switched the controls to automatic so she wouldn't have to worry about them constantly.
switch to something
to change to something. I am going to switch to a cheaper brand of tissues. We switched to a different long-distance telephone company to save some money.
1. Sl. alert and up-to-date; with it. My brother is switched on and has lots of friends. I'm not switched on. In fact, I am pretty dull.
2. Sl. excited. I get switched on by that kind of music. I am never switched on by raucous music.
asleep at the switch
Also, asleep at the wheel. Inattentive, not doing one's job, as in At the critical moment the watchman was asleep at the switch and only called the fire department when it was too late . This term came from 19th-century American railroading, when it was the trainman's duty to switch cars from one track to another by means of manually operated levers. Should he fail to do so, trains could collide. It was later transferred to any lack of alertness. The wheel in the variant is a steering wheel; similarly disastrous results are implied.
bait and switch
A deceptive commercial practice in which customers are induced to visit a store by an advertised sale item and then are told that it is out of stock or that it is far inferior to some more expensive item. For example, I won't buy a car from this outfit; they're notorious for their bait and switch tactics. The verb to bait has meant to supply a hook or trap with a morsel of food so as to attract a fish or animal since about 1300; the verb to switch has meant to change, alter, or transfer from one thing to another since the 1890s. The pairing of the two, however, dates only from the 1920s, although the practice is surely much older. It is called switch-selling in Britain.
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.
Produce as if operating by a control, as in She switched on the charm as soon as he walked in. [Mid-1900s] Also see switch off.
bait and switchAMERICAN
Bait and switch is a method of attracting customers by making a good offer, but then the customer is sold something of lower quality. The live performances were not shown often, and no doubt some viewers considered it a bait and switch. The bar really sells 11 dishes for the advertised price at lunch. There's no bait and switch here.
change horses in midstreamor
switch horses in midstream
If someone changes horses in midstream or switches horses in midstream, they stop using one method or thing and start using another one, or they stop supporting one person and start supporting someone else. I think we were very wise not to change horses in midstream. Note: You can also just say that someone changes horses or switches horses. Andersson is angered at the way Taylor initially supported the deal, only to switch horses later and back the opposing bid. Note: These expressions are often used to advise someone against doing one of these things. Note: The American President Abraham Lincoln used this expression in 1864, `I am reminded of the story of an old Dutch farmer, who remarked to a companion that it was best not to swap horses when crossing streams.'
1. To alter something by shifting its components: The baseball manager switched the lineup around so that the best batter would go first. The decorator switched around the room to make it feel less cramped.
2. To swap someone or something with another: The decorator switched the chair around with the bookcase. The manager switched the two players around.
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.
To activate something using a switch: We switched on the lights and entered the room. I switched the fan on to cool down the kitchen.
1. To make or undergo a shift from one thing to another: I switched over to the trumpet from the saxophone. Some groups have started using the new operating system, but our division won't switch over until next year.
2. To shift someone or something from one thing to another: The IT department switched our division over to the new operating system. A better medicine came out, so the doctor switched over all her patients.
3. To change channels: I switched over to the classical music station when I got bored with the news.
asleep at the switch
mod. inattentive to duty. (Not literal.) Donald was asleep at the switch when the call came in.
n. a switchblade knife. (The folding pocket knife springs open when a button is pushed.) They found a switch in his pocket when they searched him.
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.
1. in. to come alive. She saw her child and immediately switched on.
2. in. to become modern and participate in current fads and events. Most kids I know switched on when they went to high school.
1. mod. alert and up-to-date; with it. My brother is switched on and has lots of friends.
2. mod. excited. I am never switched on by raucous music.
1. n. a ballplayer who bats either right-handed or left-handed. (Baseball.) I’m not a switch-hitter. In fact, I can hardly hit the ball at all.
2. n. a bisexual person. (From sense 1) Bart finally decided he was a switch-hitter and asked Brad for a date since Mary was busy.