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switchback

[swich-bak] /ˈswɪtʃˌbæk/
noun
1.
a highway, as in a mountainous area, having many hairpin curves.
2.
Railroads. a zigzag track arrangement for climbing a steep grade.
3.
British, roller coaster.
verb (used without object)
4.
(of a road, railroad track, etc.) to progress through a series of hairpin curves; zigzag:
The road switchbacks up the mountain.
Origin
1860-1865
1860-65, Americanism; switch + back2
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for switchback
  • The effect has been to create a switchback in the public finances, injecting extra demand into the economy.
  • Carved down their face were sharp-angled switchback grooves.
  • The driveway to that house was two hundred yards long and included a switchback.
  • In the crook of a switchback was a spring, upwelling and dark-tinted among creepers and weeds.
  • Watch the morning sun light up the cliffs and domes surrounding the valley, then begin the switchback descent.
  • It uses tight switchback and narrow trails to reach the floor of the canyon.
  • Then: solid darkness, with headlights gouging it out to expose switchback roads and useless signs.
  • Provide continuous inner handrails between pedestrian ramp runs at dogleg or switchback pedestrian ramps.
  • On a plateau cut by steep canyons trails meander, switchback, and follow topographic features.
  • The project, at the first of three major switchback curves if approaching from the west, will last for eight weeks.
British Dictionary definitions for switchback

switchback

/ˈswɪtʃˌbæk/
noun
1.
a mountain road, railway, or track which rises and falls sharply many times or a sharp rise and fall on such a road, railway, or track
2.
another word (esp Brit) for big dipper
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for switchback
adj.

reference to zig-zag railways, 1863, from switch (v.) + back (adv.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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