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
(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

Devender Anand, an Indian army spokesman, accused Pakistani forces of initiating the exchange. Roshan Mughal, The Seattle Times, "India suspends key bus service to Pakistani part of Kashmir," 20 Feb. 2019 The exchange left just about everyone, including me, in tears. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "Ricki Lake Opens Up About Her Husband's Death in Emotional 'Masked Singer' Reveal," 7 Feb. 2019 Send everyone our love! - the Gaines clan — Chip Gaines (@chipgaines) February 5, 2019 Twitter users were very excited about the exchange. Maya Mcdowell, House Beautiful, "The Gaines Family Calls Singer Cher 'Auntie Cher', and It's So Cute," 7 Feb. 2019 Because in the tweet exchange no one saw coming, apparently the two are HUGE fans. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Ariana Grande Fangirls Over Tyra Banks on Twitter—and Tyra's a Fan," 7 Feb. 2019 At Miramonte, a long communal table encourages the creative and cultural exchanges woven into Austrian café culture. Elizabeth Wellington, Vogue, "This Austrian Spa and Ski Town Is Straight Out of a Wes Anderson Film," 11 Jan. 2019 But in Orange County, California, government officials forced the only needle exchange to close. German Lopez, Vox, "The simple idea that could help end America’s opioid epidemic," 26 Dec. 2018 The exchange was part of a trove of documents released today by Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "Mark Zuckerberg personally approved cutting off Vine’s friend-finding feature," 5 Dec. 2018 Claire manages to broker the return of Otter Tooth's stone in exchange for help kidnapping Roger, a plan which also (surprise!) fails miserably. Mehera Bonner, Harper's BAZAAR, "Outlander's Season 4 Finale Will Leave You an Emotional Mess," 28 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

First off, Hiram seems to be running the show here too: Betty sees him show up to exchange some mysterious envelopes with Sister Woodhouse, the nun overseeing the patients’ fizzle rock dosage. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Betty's In Serious Trouble on This Week's Riverdale," 6 Dec. 2018 Scientists have long suspected that Danube foragers and their farming neighbors gathered at Lepenski Vir to exchange stories and ideas, and probably to find mates. Mark Barna, Discover Magazine, "When Farmers and Foragers First Met," 24 Oct. 2018 Suddenly, every touch is a new chance to exchange an incredible rush of pure bliss. Corinne Werder, Allure, "Want to Have Better Sex? Stop Worrying About Orgasms," 11 Oct. 2018 Everybody has replicated what StubHub built, which is effectively a marketplace to exchange anonymous pieces of paper. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Former Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard explains why live venues are leaving money on the table," 11 Oct. 2018 One of the three wounded officers was hit after police started to exchange gunfire with the unnamed suspect, The Kansas City Star reported. Frank Miles, Fox News, "3 Kansas City, Missouri, cops shot; gunman killed in standoff with police, officials say," 2 Oct. 2018 That allowed Beijing to exchange goods and services with the US — but with little to no tariffs. Alex Ward, Vox, "Trump’s China strategy is the most radical in decades — and it’s failing," 18 Sep. 2018 Barcelona goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen is seeking a move away from Camp Nou this summer in a bid to exchange the bench for a first choice stopper role at another club., "Barcelona Stopper Jasper Cillessen Set to Leave Camp Nou as Spanish Giants Offer Cut Price Deal," 30 June 2018 The incident, however, was a bit anticlimactic as the players met on the field to exchange enraged words with each other without leading to a full-on baseball brawl. Michelle R. Martinelli, For The Win, "Rays and Nationals had a bench-clearing incident over pitcher's 3-week-old grudge," 26 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

23 Feb 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 \

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

What made you want to look up exchange? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


very full or close together

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