from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A sharp bend in a road or trail on a steep incline.
  • noun A point on a mountain railway where trains reverse direction to continue obliquely up or down a slope without turning.
  • noun A road, trail, or railway that has such bends or points in it.
  • noun A section of such a road, trail, or railroad, extending in a nearly opposite direction to the section coming before or after it.
  • noun Chiefly British A roller coaster.
  • intransitive verb To proceed in sharp turns in alternating directions on a steep incline.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Characterized by alternate motion, or by motion back and forth; pertaining to or adapted to use on a switchback: as, a switchback method of ascent; a switchback series of inclines; a switchback railway.
  • noun A railway for ascending or descending steep acclivities, in which a practicable grade is obtained by curving the track alternately backward and forward along the side of the slope. Also called switchback railway.
  • noun By extension, an inclined railway in which the movement of a train or of a car is partly or wholly effected by gravity, as in the switchback railway at Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania, and railways constructed for purposes of amusement at watering-places, fairs, and pleasure-resorts.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A zigzag path, road or railway track; especially a railway track in which the train travels in a reverse direction at each switch
  • noun A hairpin bend.
  • noun dated, UK A roller coaster.
  • verb of a path, etc. To zigzag.


Sorry, no etymologies found.



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