noun, often attributive
ex·change | \iks-ˈchānj, ˈeks-ˌchānj \

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

(2) : exchange rate

(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 \ noun
exchangeable \iks-ˈchān-jə-bəl \ adjective
exchanger \iks-ˈchān-jər, ˈeks-ˌchān- \ noun

Examples of exchange in a Sentence


an even exchange of property an angry exchange of insults a useful exchange of information threats of a nuclear exchange


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

Both say they will be vindicated when the complete set of text exchanges is revealed by police or in court. Sara Randazzo, WSJ, "The Sexting Scandal That Toppled One of America’s Most Powerful Lawyers," 13 July 2018 Some of the angriest exchanges at the hearing were between Strzok and Gowdy., "FBI agent Strzok feuds with GOP critics at hearing," 13 July 2018 Parts of this exchange were redacted before the Milford Police released the call to the media. Jenny Vrentas,, "Everything We Know About the Allegations Against LeSean McCoy," 12 July 2018 The ramping up of needle exchanges in the region only started this year. Terry Demio,, "Living with HIV: Fueled by heroin, HIV makes an alarming resurgence in Cincinnati," 11 July 2018 Neither is able to land a telling blow in the midst of a wild exchange. Todd Martin,, "Lando Vannata vs. Drakkar Klose live round-by-round coverage," 8 July 2018 One of the best and funniest exchanges in this play involves the King and Sarah Day’s Juliette, the grumpy, long-ignored and decidedly underappreciated servant. Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Love and death in Spring Green: 'The Recruiting Officer,' 'Exit the King'," 3 July 2018 But as New Orleans, post-Katrina, has seen an influx of transplants from up North, a subtler sort of cultural exchange seems to be taking place. Hannah Goldfield, The New Yorker, "Lowerline and Café Booqoo Translate Classics of New Orleans Cuisine," 28 June 2018 Gerardo Hernández, the leader of a Cuban spy ring, was sentenced to life in connection with the shoot-down but was returned to Cuba in 2014 as part of a prisoner exchange. Mimi Whitefield, miamiherald, "Campaign intensifies to indict Raúl Castro for deadly 1996 shoot-down of exile planes," 27 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

James Geran, 45, also shot himself on June 13 after exchanging gunfire with police. Sarah Brookbank,, "Man who led standoff charged with double murder," 27 June 2018 Donors will give the crypto funds to needy recipients, who can then decide to keep the funds in cryptocurrency or exchange them for traditional money. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "Coinbase CEO Launches Crypto Charity Fund, Aims to Raise $1 Billion," 27 June 2018 Almost 24 hours after police arrived at the apartment and exchanged fire with Irayan Pluth, 12; Lillia Pluth, 10; Aidan Lindsey, 6; and Dove Lindsey, 1, were found shot to death in their beds, police said. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, ""He has a gun": Mom's 911 call released in standoff that left 4 kids dead," 22 June 2018 At least one local media outlet reported people inside two vehicles exchanged gunfire. Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "After a shooting closed the freeway, a man ended up inside a squad car with gun that fired," 13 June 2018 At 1:15 pm Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit pulled alongside Oswald less than a mile from his home, and after exchanging words through the car window, Tippit stepped out of the vehicle. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "There Are Secrets in the Texas Theatre," 25 May 2018 After exchanging their hellos (and maybe having more tea?), the family had a wedding rehearsal. Amanda Arnold, The Cut, "Meghan Markle’s Mom Finally Met the Royal Family," 17 May 2018 In 2021 the curbs on warhead numbers and the protocols for exchanging information provided by the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) of 2011 will lapse unless it is extended. The Economist, "Old deals to limit nuclear weapons are fraying. They may not be repaired," 5 May 2018 Calderon was fatally shot in the parking lot on South LaSalle Street between Galena and Downer Place after exchanging gunfire with police, and was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. Hannah Leone, Aurora Beacon-News, "Aurora cops release more video from scene of police shooting, aren't providing dash cam footage yet," 19 Apr. 2018

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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Phrases Related to exchange

exchange fire

exchanged blows

Statistics for exchange

Last Updated

21 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for exchange

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

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More Definitions for exchange



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 \

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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