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

Sarah, Duchess of York has driven plenty of scandal over the years; in 2010 she was recorded offering information about her ex-husband to tabloids in exchange for £500,000, a move that reportedly cost her an invite to the royal wedding in 2011. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "These Princess Beatrice Facts Prove She's One Interesting Royal," 12 Oct. 2018 The town's mayor, Ann Murphy, explained the mysterious parallel universe with an official proclamation: Kraft Foods had agreed to donate more than $15,000 to municipal beautification projects in exchange for the renaming. Ken Jennings, Condé Nast Traveler, "Mayo, Florida Was Just Renamed for a Different Condiment," 24 Sep. 2018 Raina wants revenge on her father for her mother’s death (fair) and is willing to give Jack Bass control of Bass Industries in exchange. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, "Every Single Episode of Gossip Girl, Ranked," 19 Sep. 2018 In exchange, the companies asked to do away with the bills that give the TLC the ability to cap the number of vehicles allowed as well as set a standard for how well-utilized its cars are. Johana Bhuiyan, Recode, "Uber and Lyft are fighting a critical battle against New York City — and this time, they might not win," 2 Aug. 2018 Both men suffered non-life-threatening injuries during the exchange and are expected to recover., "Two men injured after Friday night shooting in Pendleton County, police say," 14 July 2018 The Martha's Vineyard Transit Authority says the exchange was caught on video Wednesday afternoon. CBS News, "Martha's Vineyard bus driver fired after telling man he wasn't picked up because he's black," 13 July 2018 The exchange prompted some intramural squabbling among news outlets — another sign of Mr. Trump’s skill in not only insulting the news media, but in dividing it as well. New York Times, "‘Fake News’ Goes Global as Trump, in Britain, Rips the Press," 13 July 2018 While Levin couldn’t confirm whether Chainalysis software was involved in the current investigation, blockchain analysis typically focuses on intermediaries such as the exchanges that facilitate cryptocurrency purchases. Gregory Barber, WIRED, "Someone Found a Use for Bitcoin. Russian Hackers!," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Lyft announced a new loyalty program on Monday, in which riders accumulate points that can be exchanged for trip upgrades or access to more experienced drivers. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "Lyft planning to introduce a rewards program for riders," 12 Nov. 2018 The current offer, made in July, would allow DVMT holders to exchange each share for 1.3665 shares of what would become a newly public Dell, or $109 in cash. Dana Cimilluca, WSJ, "Dell Discusses Sweetening Tracking-Stock Offer With Large Shareholders," 6 Nov. 2018 Think: pastels exchanged for super-saturated pigments; beach hair for bedhead; and art school–inspired eye makeup for lid-level masterpieces. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "5 Spectacular Beauty Trends That Swept the London Runways This Week," 19 Sep. 2018 The two were indicted together by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team last October — but in February, Gates struck a plea deal with Mueller in exchanged for cooperation and had most of his charges withdrawn. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "What we learned from the opening statements at Paul Manafort’s trial," 31 July 2018 Don't believe the sweet, treacly greetings exchanged between Wind Gap residents for a second — these niceties mask the real dynamics at work., "Meet The Cast & Characters Of Sharp Objects, HBO’s Darkest Show Yet," 5 July 2018 Filecoin, too, is meant to be a marketplace where digital storage space will be exchanged for an eponymous digital token. The Economist, "Raiders of the killer dappBlockchain technology may offer a way to re-decentralise the internet," 28 June 2018 The Bulls and the Suns seemed to exchange baskets for more than three hours. azcentral, "Arizona Republic staff's best memories of 1992-93 Phoenix Suns," 16 June 2018 Success in Singapore would see Kim making a bold decision to exchange his nukes for economic support and security assurances, according to Ryan Haas, an Asia expert at the John L. Thornton China Center. Washington Post, "A look at what to expect from the Kim-Trump summit," 11 June 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

16 Nov 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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