\ ˈchānj How to pronounce change (audio) \
changed; changing

Definition of change

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to make different in some particular : alter never bothered to change the will
b : to make radically different : transform can't change human nature
c : to give a different position, course, or direction to changed his residence from Ohio to California
2a : to replace with another let's change the subject
b : to make a shift from one to another : switch always changes sides in an argument
c : to exchange for an equivalent sum of money (as in smaller denominations or in a foreign currency) change a 20-dollar bill
d : to undergo a modification of foliage changing color
e : to put fresh clothes or covering on change a bed

intransitive verb

1 : to become different some things never change
2 : to undergo transformation, transition, or substitution winter changed to spring
3 : exchange, switch neither liked his seat so they changed with each other
4 : to put on different clothes need a few minutes to change for dinner
5 : to shift one's means of conveyance : transfer on the bus trip he had to change twice
6 of the voice : to shift to lower register : break His voice started to change when he turned 13.
7 of the moon : to pass from one phase (see phase entry 1 sense 1) to another
change hands
: to pass from the possession of one owner to that of another money changes hands many times



Definition of change (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act, process, or result of changing: such as
a : alteration a change in the weather
b : transformation a time of vast social change going through changes
c : substitution a change of scenery
d : the passage of the moon from one monthly revolution (see revolution sense 1a) to another also : the passage of the moon from one phase (see phase entry 1 sense 1) to another
2a : money in small denominations received in exchange for an equivalent sum in larger denominations
b : money returned when a payment exceeds the amount due a cashier quick at making change
c : coins especially of low denominations a pocketful of change
d : a negligible additional amount only six minutes and change left in the game
e : money sense 1 cost a large chunk of change
3 : a fresh set of clothes
4 British : exchange sense 5a
6 : an order in which a set of bells is struck in change ringing

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Other Words from change


changer noun

Choose the Right Synonym for change


change, alter, vary, modify mean to make or become different. change implies making either an essential difference often amounting to a loss of original identity or a substitution of one thing for another. changed the shirt for a larger size alter implies a difference in some particular respect without suggesting loss of identity. slightly altered the original design vary stresses a breaking away from sameness, duplication, or exact repetition. vary your daily routine modify suggests a difference that limits, restricts, or adapts to a new purpose. modified the building for use by the disabled


change, alter, and vary mean to make or become different. change may be used for making such a difference in a thing that it becomes something else. They've changed the house into a restaurant. Change may also be used for substituting one thing for another. We changed our seats for better ones. alter is used for making a small difference in something. He altered the picture by adding color. vary is used for making a difference in order to break away from a routine. The boss varied our tasks.

Examples of change in a Sentence

Verb He changed from an optimist to a pessimist. The town has changed little in recent years. These events have changed me in my attitude to life. You can't change human nature. Their relationship seems to have changed for the better. The leaves change color from green to red in the fall. She changed her name when she got married. France has changed its monetary unit from the franc to the euro. change the channel on the TV Noun There has been little if any change in her daily routine. You shouldn't be afraid of change. Change is a natural part of life. The years have brought many changes to the town's economy. We need to make some changes in the system. Many voters believe that it's time for a change. We've had to make a slight change in the schedule. a change for the worse We've been so busy that a quiet day at home was a welcome change. We eat at home a lot, so dining out sometimes is a nice change. Have you got change for a $10 bill?
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Seconds later, after Noll placed his ball on the tee and stood up, his heart stopped beating and his world changed. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: Three months ago he nearly died of a heart attack. Back at his family's deer camp, this Wisconsin man is finally healing.," 27 Nov. 2019 From re-discovering her own personal passions, to an exciting outlook on the future, here's how life has changed, in her own words. Emy Rodriguez Flores, Redbook, "How My Life Changed When I Became an Empty Nester," 27 Nov. 2019 Five years ago, robotic milkers changed the lives of many dairy farmers and their herds by letting cows choose to pull into a milking station the way cars pull off the interstate to refuel. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "We Should Explain Why This Cow Is Wearing a VR Headset," 26 Nov. 2019 Apparently Microsoft's view of its customers' VR demand hasn't changed much in the intervening years. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Xbox chief: “Nobody’s asking for VR” for Project Scarlett," 26 Nov. 2019 Kids have to change very quickly into adults at 18, and the military must make educated guesses about where these untested young people will not only survive but thrive. Ephrat Livni, Quartz at Work, "Would you dare take a talent assessment inspired by the testing methods of the IDF?," 25 Nov. 2019 That game, at least from Michigan’s perspective, changed the overall nature of what was going on in the Big Ten. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "An oral history of Michigan football's greatest upset of Ohio State: OSU 'ain't (bleep)'," 25 Nov. 2019 Meanwhile, the women’s rights movement changed dramatically as old-guard suffragists passed the torch to new activists. Erin Blakemore, National Geographic, "Will the Equal Rights Amendment ever be ratified?," 25 Nov. 2019 But that finally changed, Perry said, when a drug task force got an informant inside in the Axton area. Chris Kenning,, "‘Right under your nose’: A Mexican cartel turned this rural area into a hidden cocaine hub," 25 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun To see why storage is important, work backwards from the most common strategy to limit climate change. The Economist, "Power storage is the missing link in green-energy plans," 30 Nov. 2019 One of our most important partnerships is with the World Bank, in particular on climate change policy assessments. Kristalina Georgieva For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "In the fight against climate change, no one can stand on the sidelines," 30 Nov. 2019 Violent weather caused by climate change is said to be the biggest challenge facing the vulnerable UNESCO world heritage location. Fox News, "Tragic remains of Pompeii child who tried to shelter from volcano found at ‘grand baths’," 28 Nov. 2019 Birchfield’s son-in-law, Kyle Tisdel, an environmental lawyer running for Congress on a climate-change platform, is in and out of the kitchen. Jenni Avins, Quartz, "A spiritual retreat actually transformed me," 28 Nov. 2019 The new messaging comes as Democrats saw success in 2018 running on a promise to combat climate change and hammering Republicans as the party of deniers., "In the Southeast, where Republicans in South Carolina and Georgia control the legislature or occupy the governor’s mansion, the GOP is acknowledging, even if begrudgingly, sea level rise and the growing threat from intensifying hurricanes.," 28 Nov. 2019 Many countries are struggling to hit their emission reduction goals, the United States confirmed its intention to withdraw from the agreement, and tech giants are cozying up to the fossil fuel industry and climate change deniers. Wired, "China Is Still Building an Insane Number of New Coal Plants," 27 Nov. 2019 They can be seen when Ted Cruz tries to discredit climate change with talk about the anomalous world weather pattern in 1998 due to El Niño. Lee Mcintyre, The Conversation, "5 ways Trump and his supporters are using the same strategies as science deniers," 27 Nov. 2019 Climate change has withered the ice fields, and the Bossons has retreated up the hillside. Simon Akam, Outside Online, "You Won’t Pass Chamonix’s Mountain Guiding Test," 27 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'change.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of change


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for change

Verb and Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French changer, from Latin cambiare to exchange, probably of Celtic origin; akin to Old Irish camm crooked

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Learn More about change

Time Traveler for change

Time Traveler

The first known use of change was in the 13th century

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Statistics for change

Last Updated

2 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Change.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 9 December 2019.

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More Definitions for change


How to pronounce change (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of change

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to become different
: to make (someone or something) different
: to become something else



English Language Learners Definition of change (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act of becoming different or of causing someone or something to become different
: the act of replacing one thing with another
: the act of moving from one plane, train, etc., to another in order to continue a journey


\ ˈchānj How to pronounce change (audio) \
changed; changing

Kids Definition of change

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to make or become different changing autumn leaves I like how you've changed this room.
2 : to give a different position, course, or direction to I changed my plans.
3 : to put one thing in the place of another : switch Our teacher made us change places.
4 : to give or receive an equal amount of money in usually smaller units of value or in the money of another country Can you change a ten-dollar bill?
5 : to put fresh clothes or covering on change a bed
6 : to put on different clothes We always change for dinner.
change hands
: to pass from one person's possession or ownership to another's The restaurant has changed hands.



Kids Definition of change (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act, process, or result of making or becoming different There's been a change in plans. a change of seasons
2 : something that is different from what is usual or expected The trip was a welcome change from our routine.
3 : a fresh set of clothes Pack several changes for your vacation.
4 : money in small units of value received in exchange for an equal amount in larger units Do you have change for a ten-dollar bill?
5 : money returned when a payment is more than the amount due Don't forget your change.
6 : money in coins I have two dollars in change.

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Comments on change

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