switch off

Idioms & Phrases

switch off

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.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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