A switch is a hardware device that works at Layer 2 of the OSI model – data link. The data link layer is where the Ethernet protocol works.
A switch switches Ethernet frames by keeping a table of what MAC addresses have been seen on what switch port. The switch uses this table to determine where to send all future frames that it receives. In Cisco terminology, this table is called the CAM table (content addressable memory). In general, the proper term for this table is the bridge forwarding table. If a switch receives a frame with a destination MAC address that it does not have in its table, it floods that frame to all switch ports. When it receives a response, it puts that MAC address in the table so that it won’t have to flood next time.
A switch is a high-speed multiport bridge. This is why bridges are no longer needed or manufactured. Switches do what bridges did faster and cheaper. Most routers can also function as bridges.
You might be asking how a hub fits into this mix of devices. A hub is a multiport repeater. In other words, anything that comes in one port of a hub is duplicated and sent out all other ports of the hub that have devices attached. There is no intelligence to how a hub functions. A switch is a vast improvement over a hub in terms of intelligence, for many reasons. The most important of those reasons is how the bridge forwarding table works. Intelligent (smart) switches have made hubs obsolete because they can do more at the same cost of a dumb hub. For this reason, hubs are rarely used or sold any longer.