I have noticed that a couple of users have been trying to categorize questions about multiway switching setups with their own tag. While the effort is appreciated -- I've been rejecting the edits because the terminology used is region specific -- saying something is a "3-way switch" is only meaningful to someone in North America.

Is there a worldwide term for switch setups that control a fixture for more than one location? I suspect that "multiway switch" is the closest that I have heard to such a universal phrase, but I don't know how the practices of non-Anglophone countries are translated either.

  • 1
    I think "3-way switch" would be understood in the UK as well.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Jun 7, 2017 at 8:35
  • 2
    @ChrisF it might be understood as a Yankee idiom, or as the switch that goes in between two (UK) 2-way switches. Jun 11, 2017 at 2:53

2 Answers 2


I think a would be the most general tag, with synonyms and for discoverability. The Wikipedia article for multiway switching even describes the difference between the UK and US terms; the tag wiki could link to it and/or quote from it.

I don't believe that we'd need individual tags for the different types of switches because it's unlikely that someone would only want to ask or answer questions about three- or four-way switches, but not care about questions about other types of switched electrical circuit. Having individual tags also leaves the potential for misuse.

Another possibility would be and , which isn't really discoverable for new users (probably other users too). When I'm shopping, I think of three-way switches, not single-pole-double-throw switches.

  • I like the "multiway-switch" with synonyms for three-way and four-way. In any case, please make a mod declaration, because I'm tired of having my efforts to create and apply these tags rejected!
    – feetwet
    Jun 8, 2017 at 16:08

Rejecting a tag because you're afraid it will only be properly understood in North America or in English is a terrible practice! If you're concerned that other regions may use a different term, then propose that term as a tag synonym. If you want to ensure the tag is properly used, or remove some imagined ambiguity, then edit the tag excerpt and wiki.

The proposed tags you rejected are very helpful: There are presently 665 questions under . The questions and answers pertaining to multi-way switches are quite specific to that sub-category – good troubleshooting guides and schematics for any multi-way switching problem are likely to be helpful to other questions on multi-way switches. Much is lost by lumping them together with the extremely broad "switch" tag.

  • The [multiway-switch] tag exists now! Jun 8, 2017 at 22:20
  • @ThreePhaseEel: Great! Now, since almost everyone in North America (at least) is going to expect a tag like "three-way-switch," could that be synonymized?
    – feetwet
    Jun 8, 2017 at 22:34
  • that may be something Niall will have to do to create the synonym OOTB :) Jun 8, 2017 at 22:59

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