noun, often attributive
ex·​change | \ iks-ˈchānj How to pronounce exchange (audio) , ˈeks-ˌchānj How to pronounce exchange (audio) \

Definition of exchange

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the act of giving or taking one thing in return for another : trade an exchange of prisoners
2a : the act or process of substituting one thing for another
b : reciprocal giving and receiving
3 : something offered, given, or received in an exchange
4a : funds payable currently at a distant point either in a foreign currency or in domestic currency
b(1) : interchange or conversion of the money of two countries or of current and uncurrent money with allowance for difference in value
(3) : the amount of the difference in value between two currencies or between values of a particular currency at two places
c : instruments (such as checks or bills of exchange) presented in a clearinghouse for settlement
5 : a place where things or services are exchanged: such as
a : an organized market or center for trading in securities or commodities
b : a store or shop specializing in merchandise usually of a particular type
c : a cooperative store or society
d : a central office in which telephone lines are connected to permit communication
in exchange
: as a substitute


exchanged; exchanging

Definition of exchange (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to part with, give, or transfer in consideration of something received as an equivalent
b : to have replaced by other merchandise exchanged the shirt for one in a larger size
2 : to part with for a substitute exchanging future security for immediate pleasure
3 : to give and receive reciprocally exchange gifts

intransitive verb

1 : to pass or become received in exchange
2 : to engage in an exchange

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Other Words from exchange


exchangeability \ iks-​ˌchān-​jə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce exchange (audio) \ noun
exchangeable \ iks-​ˈchān-​jə-​bəl How to pronounce exchange (audio) \ adjective
exchanger \ iks-​ˈchān-​jər How to pronounce exchange (audio) , ˈeks-​ˌchān-​ \ noun

Examples of exchange in a Sentence

Noun an even exchange of property an angry exchange of insults a useful exchange of information threats of a nuclear exchange Verb We exchanged addresses and promised we'd write each other often. These coupons can be exchanged for food. I'd like to exchange this sweater for a smaller one.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Opting out of that exchange for a few months or even an election cycle does not absolve these corporations of backing a throng of far-right members of Congress. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "JPMorgan Chase and Amazon Discover Campaign Finance Reform by Way of Social Collapse," 12 Jan. 2021 Last year, the leaders of France and Turkey engaged in a series of terse exchange of words due to divergences over the conflicts in Syria and Libya, among other issues. Suzan Fraser, Star Tribune, "Turkey says its ready to repair frayed ties with Europe," 12 Jan. 2021 In a video of the exchange aired on CNN, Flores barely asked the first part of her question before DeSantis began speaking over her. Sarah Midkiff,, "Instead Of Addressing The Florida Vaccine Disaster, Ron DeSantis Berated A Woman Journalist," 5 Jan. 2021 On Sunday, Harrold shared the initial minute-long video of the heated exchange on social media. NBC News, "New video shows woman attacking teen she falsely accused of stealing her iPhone at Soho hotel," 31 Dec. 2020 Practice days are good for this kind of exchange, with players and staff members taking turns choosing the soundtrack for the day. Jeff Mcdonald,, "‘He’s very hip:’ How 71-year-old Gregg Popovich is finding ways to bond with his youngest roster ever," 24 Dec. 2020 With new metal tools, carpenters also built the first wheels and plank ships, launching an era of unprecedented trade, travel and cultural exchange. Gerard Helferich, WSJ, "‘The Age of Wood’ Review: How to Carve a Civilization," 22 Dec. 2020 Investor ‘Lesson’ Shares of both DoorDash and Airbnb have fallen this week, which may have been a factor in the lukewarm reception for Wish, said Kathleen Smith, principal and manager of IPO exchange traded funds at Renaissance Capital. Katie Roof, Fortune, "Online retailer Wish falls in 2020’s worst debut for big U.S. IPO," 17 Dec. 2020 This number, when paired with the industry-standard Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR), can paint a clear picture of the air exchange required for a room’s specific square-footage. Popular Science, "Best air purifier: Fight allergens, smoke, and germs for cleaner indoor air," 16 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Investigators said that Mellish was supposed to exchange a Ford Mustang with Harris for a Chevy pickup truck. Minyvonne Burke, NBC News, "Soldier, 16-year-old charged in death of Fort Drum corporal found shot, buried under snow," 2 Jan. 2021 Marla McHughes, assistant administrator of drivers services with the Finance Department, said if an individual’s driver’s license is not renewed, the fee is $10 to exchange for a Real ID. Nyssa Kruse, Arkansas Online, "Grown: What is a Real ID and how do I get one in Arkansas?," 30 Dec. 2020 Long ago, the beauty and romance for a reporter covering baseball’s winter meetings involved sneaking behind a potted palm in the hotel lobby and overhearing a couple of general managers exchange names for an upcoming trade. John Shea,, "Giants try to continue building roster during stay-at-home winter meetings," 7 Dec. 2020 For one thing, even assuming all the numbers involved are accurate, the carbon impact adds up to less than one-tenth of one percent of the UK’s total emissions—hardly a worthwhile prize to exchange for creepy government email oversight. Tim Mcdonnell, Quartz, "Don’t worry about the carbon footprint of your emails," 25 Nov. 2020 The second new idea is to exchange the state’s $1.25 excise tax on a pack of cigarettes for a 35 percent tax on the wholesale price. Steven Litt, cleveland, "Cuyahoga County arts advocates propose broader tax on tobacco products to boost arts and culture revenue," 21 Nov. 2020 After Kenyan independence in 1963, many declined to exchange their British passports for Kenyan citizenship and, in 1967, under new immigration laws, were unable to get work permits in Kenya. Jenny Uglow, The New York Review of Books, "Making London Their Own," 17 Nov. 2020 Its common words and phrases do an awful lot of double duty, helping to convey lofty ideas before returning to the mundane work of enabling people to exchange information about the grain harvest or the price of eggs. Nicholas Frankovich, National Review, "Tradition without Traditionalism: Reginald Foster Requiescat in Pace," 2 Jan. 2021 The legislation would enable CRIT to lease water in Arizona to an entity such as a city for up to 100 years, with the possibility of renewal, and would also allow the tribes to exchange and store some of their water off the reservation. Ian James, The Arizona Republic, "Colorado River tribes seek approval from Congress to put water on the market in Arizona," 24 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'exchange.' 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 exchange


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for exchange


Middle English exchaunge, from Anglo-French eschange, from eschanger to exchange, from Vulgar Latin *excambiare, from Latin ex- + cambiare to exchange — more at change

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Time Traveler for exchange

Time Traveler

The first known use of exchange was in the 14th century

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Statistics for exchange

Last Updated

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Exchange.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for exchange


How to pronounce exchange (audio) How to pronounce exchange (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of exchange

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an occurrence in which people give things of similar value to each other : the act of giving or taking one thing in return for another thing
: an occurrence in which people direct something at each other
: an occurrence in which people give information to each other



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

: to give something and receive something in return
: to direct (words, looks, etc.) at each other
: to return (a product) to a store and have it replaced by another product : to trade (something that has been purchased) for something else


ex·​change | \ iks-ˈchānj How to pronounce exchange (audio) \

Kids Definition of exchange

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an act of giving or taking of one thing in return for another : trade a fair exchange
2 : a place where goods or services are exchanged
3 : the act of giving and receiving between two groups an exchange of ideas


exchanged; exchanging

Kids Definition of exchange (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give or take one thing in return for another : trade, swap



Legal Definition of exchange

1a : a giving of something of value (as real property) in return for something of equal value (as money or property of a like kind)
b in the civil law of Louisiana : a giving of something of value in return for something of equal value except money — compare sale
2 : an organized market or center for trading in securities or commodities

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Comments on exchange

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