Definition of switchback in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈswiCHˌbak/


1North American A 180° bend in a road or path, especially one leading up the side of a mountain.
Example sentences
  • The trick with this route is to park a car at the your end-point on the road (usually the second switchback down the east-slope side of the pass).
  • A stair is designed to appear carved out of the building like a switchback mountain path.
  • This is a 1.5-mile road of switchback bends on a 7% gradient.
2British A road, path, or railroad with alternate sharp ascents and descents.
Example sentences
  • They're more like a journey on a switchback that suddenly becomes a mass parade and then a plunge in icy water.
  • With the rear end of the bike being so light the F1 is a must on UK courses making easy work of tight switchbacks.
  • The effort of climbing the long, arduous switchbacks to the Keansani Pass was eased by the glorious view back down the valley every time we paused for breath (which was often).
2.1A roller coaster.
Example sentences
  • Resembling an unwound helter-skelter the Switchback reached a dizzying top speed of 6 miles per hour.


[no object]
(Of a road or vehicle) make a series of switchback turns: a road that switchbacked up blue and distant hills
More example sentences
  • Near the top, our companions climbed into their support truck while Brad and I shifted to our little rings and made grunting comments on how incredibly steep the road had become as it switchbacked across the rocky hillsides.
  • The trail starts gently enough, easing up through the hardwood forest and switchbacking over the swollen Cutler River, but it gets steeper as it ascends.
  • This is another stalkers' path that eases the gradient by switchbacking its way uphill all the way to the summit.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: switch·back

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