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 exchangeability (audio) \ noun
exchangeable \ iks-​ˈchān-​jə-​bəl How to pronounce exchangeable (audio) \ adjective
exchanger \ iks-​ˈchān-​jər How to pronounce exchanger (audio) , 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

In exchange, they are endorsed with high social standing by the local community which brings them a lot of custom in the face of market pressures. Innan Sasaki, Quartz at Work, "How to build a business that will last centuries," 10 June 2019 In exchange, the developer agreed to build the public amenities at a cost of no more than $6.15 million. Paulina Pineda, azcentral, "Tempe plans tax incentive for downtown land in Farmer Arts District," 10 June 2019 In exchange, Research for Life will pick up the body, sell parts of it to various research and education projects, and return the cremated remains to the family. Stephanie Innes,, "Arizona is a hotbed for the cadaver industry, and potential donors have plenty of options," 10 June 2019 After all, the foreign-exchange market is the biggest financial market in the world, averaging more than $5 trillion in trading volume every day. Dan Weil, WSJ, "The Mistakes That Investors Make With Currency Funds," 9 June 2019 When Davis requested a trade, the Lakers offered a large group of core young talent in exchange. Charlotte Carroll,, "Rajon Rondo on 2018-19 Lakers: 'I Think We Held It Together as Best as Possible'," 9 June 2019 In exchange, the city agreed not to significantly change retirees' health care benefits. Dan Horn,, "No more Viagra: Rising costs might cost Cincinnati retirees coverage for impotence drugs," 9 June 2019 Singer paid Vandemoer’s program an additional $110,000 in 2018; in exchange, the coach designated the child of Singer’s client as a sailor. Matthew Ormseth,, "College admissions scandal shows ‘sacrifice matters less than money,’ prosecutors say," 8 June 2019 The retailers, in exchange, pay CaaStle a per-subscriber fee. Sapna Maheshwari, New York Times, "They See It. They Like It. They Want It. They Rent It.," 8 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In addition to a few slobbery kisses, the bride and groom—beagles Marge and Rogers—exchanged collars. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "WATCH: Hurricane Florence Rescue Pup with Cancer Checks Marrying His Best Friend off Bucket List," 13 June 2019 Other activities throughout the year include scavenger hunts, trick or treating, exchanging valentines, a Halloween costume contest and bingo. 21. Leigh Farr, azcentral, "Small Company Rankings," 13 June 2019 Museum historian Edna Friedberg says the pen pal letters exchanged between Ryan Cooper and Otto Frank from 1972 until Frank’s death in 1980 show how Frank worked tirelessly to spread his late daughter’s legacy. USA TODAY, "Pride pickup, sphinx on move, Tony Stark’s cabin: News from around our 50 states," 13 June 2019 In the midst of Cubs and Rockies pitchers exchanging plunkings Wednesday afternoon at Coors Field, Javier Baez delivered the biggest statement. Mark Gonzales,, "Javier Baez and Cole Hamels take care of business, helping the Cubs snap a 5-game road skid with a rout of the Rockies," 12 June 2019 Thomas Hill, 40, met the 17-year-old online and exchanged thousands of messages before driving to her Georgia home and bringing her back to suburban Tampa, authorities said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Tiffini Theisen,, "Florida man, 40, kept teen girl as slave in home, sexually assaulted and beat her, investigators say," 11 June 2019 Paraders and crowd members alike took them up on the offer, exchanging cathartic squeezes with strangers. Doug Maccash,, "New Orleans’ Pride Parade 2019 was a glorious group hug," 9 June 2019 Making an argument for his skills as an opera composer, the 23-year-old Mozart created something that sounds like a soprano and tenor exchanging lyrical lines of love and longing. Rob Hubbard, Twin Cities, "Review: Let the SPCO send you into summer with memorable Mozart," 8 June 2019 Then the two separated, without exchanging phone numbers. David Margolick, The New Yorker, "The Campaign Volunteer Whose Brilliance Haunted Robert F. Kennedy," 7 June 2019

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

15 Jun 2019

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 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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showing courage and determination

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