In many occurrences, I've seen the writer using the word "switch", for example:

If it mean "to whip", it would be odd.

Why does the writer insist on using this word?

“I told you not to be a fool, Rand al’Thor. You may have Tairens bowing to your boots, but I remember when Nynaeve switched your bottom for letting Mat talk you into stealing a jar of apple brandy.”


But if the Amyrlin had sent them somewhere, maybe they did. The Amyrlin was capable of sending a woman into a bear’s den with nothing but a switch if it suited her purposes. And she would expect the woman to come back with a bearskin, or the bear on a leash, as instructed.

  • 3
    Sheesh. You mean there's kids today who don't know this usage of the word from personal experience? No wonder so many of them are so spoiled.
    – Tango
    Dec 27, 2012 at 8:44
  • Curse you, Spock!
    – Kyle Jones
    Dec 27, 2012 at 13:20
  • OK....what happened just now? I am an non-native speaker. From my experience, the word switch is more likely to be referring to the electrical one. Anyway, I know the answer now. Thank you. Dec 28, 2012 at 6:22

2 Answers 2


In this context, it's a flexible branch used for inflicting punishment of the bottom-hitting kind. From Wikipedia:

A switch is a flexible rod, typically used for corporal punishment of the birching type, called switching after it.

It can either be a single branch, or sometimes several branches together.


From Oxford English Dictionary -

switch, n.

A slender tapering riding whip.


switch, v.

To strike, hit, beat, flog, or whip with or as with a switch.

  • 1
    Yeah, this question is easily answered with a dictionary.
    – Jason
    Dec 27, 2012 at 16:07

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