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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 of switchback
1860-1865
1860-65, Americanism; switch + back2
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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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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