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

Trump eventually intervened to strike a deal letting ZTE stay in business in exchange for paying a $1 billion fine and agreeing to monitoring by US regulators. Emily Stewart, Vox, "The arrest of Huawei’s Sabrina Meng is a “warning shot” in US-China relations.," 6 Dec. 2018 Over dinner, the boys learn that the men in town — including Laurie and Gracie’s father and brother — are working a job down the river, and get invited to stay in the barn overnight in exchange for some work the next day. Jessica Macleish, Teen Vogue, ""Riverdale" Recap Season 3 Episode 7: Why Has No One Noticed Betty Is Missing?," 6 Dec. 2018 By June 1994, renovation work started on the Coliseum after the Sonics signed a 15-year lease in exchange for the city of Seattle issuing 20-year bonds to pay for the $100 million, 16-month renovation. Colin Diltz, The Seattle Times, "Renovations are nothing new to KeyArena, evolving since 1962 and home to new NHL team," 5 Dec. 2018 In exchange for a $100,000 donation to UNICEF, the actress shared her wish list with the e-commerce giant. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas Are Married—Here's Everything We Know About the Wedding," 4 Dec. 2018 Facebook sent a team to the University of British Columbia in Canada with free t-shirts, dogs to pet, and the opportunity to win $1,000 in exchange for downloading its murder clone of Houseparty, Bonfire. Casey Newton, The Verge, "A looming strike over Project Dragonfly is putting new pressure on Google," 30 Nov. 2018 During the exchange of gunfire, Lopez was shot once in the abdomen. Amanda Seitz, The Seattle Times, "Hospital gunman fired at least 30 times before killing self," 21 Nov. 2018 Survivors gave a piece of themselves, their stories, in exchange for a movement that was supposed to create a wave of change. Sarah Stankorb, Glamour, "Are Hashtags Like #MeToo and #BelieveWomen Hurting or Helping Survivors?," 15 Oct. 2018 The earliest recorded exchanges of wedding rings can be traced back to ancient Egypt. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Do Royals Wear Their Wedding Rings After They Get Married?," 14 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

That is unusual because any ETF may be exchanged at any time for a basket of its component securities, a mechanism that aims to keep market values in alignment. Michael Wursthorn, WSJ, "Wild Markets Pinch Trading, Vexing Investors," 7 Dec. 2018 According to the document, the emails were exchanged in late July and early August of 2016, more than two months before WikiLeaks published thousands of emails stolen from the private email account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. Chad Day, The Seattle Times, "Document: Mueller focused on tip about WikiLeaks plans," 27 Nov. 2018 Pounamu carvings were traditionally worn by tribal chiefs, and were exchanged after conflicts to signify peace between tribes. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle's Unique Necklace Is a Symbol of Strength and Integrity," 31 Oct. 2018 The simple Welsh gold band was exchanged this morning at the nuptials between Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank at Windsor Castle. Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "Here's What Princess Eugenie's Wedding Ring Looks Like," 12 Oct. 2018 An original element that needs to be replaced can be exchanged for contemporary materials in a way that is respectful to the past yet also forward thinking. Kate Wagner, Curbed, "To renovate or not to renovate?," 5 Sep. 2018 This involves a royal aide announcing a guest’s name to the monarch before greetings are exchanged. NBC News, "Trump is set to meet the queen. Here's what he shouldn't do.," 8 July 2018 The points can be exchanged for small prizes such as toilet paper, toothpaste, and shampoo. Michael Holtz, The Christian Science Monitor, "Beijing gets tough on trash," 5 July 2018 No direct threats are exchanged, but the intent of their deeply coded conversation is to undermine Nick. Rena Gross, Billboard, "'The Handmaid's Tale' Season 2, Episode 12 Recap: 15 Reactions to 'Postpartum'," 4 July 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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Statistics for exchange

Last Updated

14 Dec 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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