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

Noun an even exchange of property an angry exchange of insults a useful exchange of information threats of a nuclear exchange Verb 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 The Central Bank of West African States and the Bank of Central African States are responsible for coordinating monetary exchanges through operating accounts with the French Treasury. Landry Signé, Quartz Africa, "How the France-backed African CFA franc works as an enabler and barrier to development," 7 Dec. 2019 Formal political exchanges started up between NATO and the EU, such as those between the EU’s Political Security Committee (PSC) and NATO’s North Atlantic Council (NAC). Simon J Smith, Quartz, "A short history of the EU and NATO’s uneasy relationship," 3 Dec. 2019 That includes last week’s 28-26 win over North Carolina State in which the Yellow Jackets garnered many a hidden yard in special teams and turnover exchanges. Ryan Dodson, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Georgia at Georgia Tech odds, picks and best bets," 28 Nov. 2019 Forced conviviality with relative strangers, or strange relatives — at the office-team holiday lunch, the school concert, the neighborhood progressive dinner, Aunt Cindy’s cookie exchange — is impossible to avoid. Kyrie O’connor,, "This holiday season is time to improve your small-talk skills," 22 Nov. 2019 In contrast, nonrotating fires exchange roughly 10 times more energy with the surrounding atmosphere. Jason M. Forthofer, Scientific American, "Can Scientists Predict Fire Tornadoes?," 20 Nov. 2019 Adding Aramco’s entire valuation would push the Tadawul into the world’s top-10 ranking for global exchanges by market capitalization. Adrian Croft, Fortune, "Saudi Aramco Shares Soar in Debut, Closing in on the Kingdom’s Coveted $2 Trillion Valuation," 11 Dec. 2019 The country’s net foreign-exchange reserves are just $12bn, about three months’-worth of imports. The Economist, "Alberto Fernández, Argentina’s new president, faces economic crisis," 10 Dec. 2019 The exchange zone is in the guest parking lot and features 24-hour video surveillance. Katie Rice,, "Orlando police looking for information in OfferUp robberies," 10 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb It’s now exchanged by the alumni associations at Oregon and Oregon State. 41. oregonlive, "Canzano: 123 Civil War football facts you need to know, if you don’t already," 27 Nov. 2019 Following the ceremony, when Robertson and Huff exchanged both personal and traditional vows, the bride and groom joined her parents, Willie and Korie Robertson, family and friends at an outdoor reception, which was held under a large tent. Natalie Stone,, "Newlyweds Sadie Robertson and Christian Huff Share First Wedding Photos: 'Forever, Me and You'," 26 Nov. 2019 Taking Zizzoprene instead of Somnotab would be a quid pro quo in the strict sense, something which can be readily exchanged for another. Anthony Grant, Quartz, "‘Quid pro quo’ is more legalese than Latin," 25 Nov. 2019 After Moore and the bus driver exchanged angry words, the driver finally pulled away from the stop with the boy still in the bus, deputies said. Tiffini Theisen,, "Florida woman rams school bus with car after argument with bus driver, deputies say," 22 Nov. 2019 This time, exchanging her nude glossy lip for a matte marron finish, pinning her honey blonde locks behind her ear, and glistening in Lorraine Schwartz jewels. Nandi Howard, Essence, "Beyonce Is Giving Us The Holiday Hues," 18 Nov. 2019 The second quarter was a back-and-forth affair with the two teams exchanging scores. Cheryl Wray, al, "Hueytown wins 56-49 in OT after Bama commit Roydell Williams leaves game," 16 Nov. 2019 After both teams exchanged punts, first downs by Bridges and Bruce Jackson put the Tigers inside enemy territory. Alvaro Montano, Houston Chronicle, "Klein Collins gets rematch with Vandegrift after dispatching Dekaney," 15 Nov. 2019 The emails appear to include a variety of correspondence on immigration, with McHugh and Miller exchanging links to a variety of far-right websites, including two that the SPLC has called hate groups. NBC News, "Democrats call for Stephen Miller to resign after leak of xenophobic emails," 13 Nov. 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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Time Traveler for exchange

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for exchange

Last Updated

14 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Exchange.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 14 December 2019.

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More Definitions for exchange


How to pronounce exchange (audio) How to pronounce exchange (audio)

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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to assail by words or arguments

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