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

Led by the American Legion Auxiliary, volunteers hand out red poppies in exchange for donations to support the country's veterans and their families. Elissa Sanci, Good Housekeeping, "Everything You Need to Know About the Symbolism Behind Memorial Day Poppies," 9 May 2019 In exchange for their tremendous size and energy, blue supernovas have short lifespans. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Astronomers Finally Able to See Beneath Surface of Mysterious Blue Supergiants," 7 May 2019 In exchange, FirstEnergy was to receive immunity from future legal claims surrounding FES, including the costs of cleaning up and shuttering several coal and nuclear plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Andrew Scurria, WSJ, "FirstEnergy’s Bankruptcy Deal With Power Units Collapses," 4 Apr. 2019 Zooxanthellae live inside coral, and have a symbiotic relationship with them, providing nutrients in exchange for protection. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Climate Change Has Fundamentally Weakened The Great Barrier Reef," 4 Apr. 2019 In exchange, the Mariners sent minor league pitcher Jesus Ozoria to San Francisco. Ryan Divish, The Seattle Times, "Mariners acquire backup catcher Tom Murphy in trade with Giants, option David Freitas to Tacoma," 29 Mar. 2019 In exchange, Amazon will give CPGs data about how well their product is performing within its category on Amazon, as well as some advertising on Amazon’s sites — stuff Amazon doesn’t have to spend out of pocket to offer. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Google spends $1 billion on a 52-acre office park in space-constrained Silicon Valley," 27 Nov. 2018 In exchange, the Chinese conglomerate got a 45 percent stake in the American EV startup. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Faraday Future employees sue investor over ‘conspiracy’ to destroy the EV startup," 14 Nov. 2018 The View co-stars Joy Behar and Meghan McCain got into an uncomfortable exchange during Tuesday's show while Elisabeth Hasselbeck was on. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Watch 'The View' Star Joy Behar Take a Major Dig at Meghan McCain on Tuesday's Show," 27 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

People reports that the pair exchanged ring pops for wedding bands before posing on the Chapel’s famed pink Cadillac for wedding photos in Elvis glasses. Nicole Briese, Allure, "Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas Had a Quickie Vegas Wedding After the Billboard Music Awards," 2 May 2019 The 46-year-old Luther star and 30-year-old former Miss Vancouver exchanged vows on April 26, and the photos of their big day are a thing of beauty. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Gave the Coolest Wedding Gift to Idris Elba and Sabrina Dhowre," 29 Apr. 2019 Idris Elba got married to model and actress Sabrina Dhowre in Marrakesh this week, exchanging vows at the Ksar Char-Bagh hotel on April 26, 2019. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Gave Idris Elba an Incredible Wedding Gift," 28 Apr. 2019 Focusing on positive content, uplifting others, exchanging ideas with colleagues, educating patients, and exploring gratitude have taught me a great deal about using social media for positive effect. Dana Corriel, SELF, "The Rise of the Social Media Doctor," 26 Apr. 2019 The Central Intelligence Agency concluded that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman must have ordered Mr. Khashoggi’s killing, pointing to messages the young royal exchanged with a close adviser who is suspected of having led the operation. WSJ, "Year of Living Dangerously With Friends and Foes," 17 Dec. 2018 During its investigation, the inspector general uncovered text messages Strzok exchanged with top FBI lawyer Lisa Page. CBS News, "Trump makes misleading claims about Crimea, FBI, North Korea," 15 June 2018 Some of that evidence, according to local reports, included disturbing text messages the couple exchanged about the abused 4-year-old, who died from asphyxiation and had arm and leg burns, lacerations and facial contusions. Chris Harris,, "'Smack Her A--': Disturbing Texts Revealed Between Couple Accused of Torturing, Killing 4-Year-Old Girl," 14 May 2018 High-ranking officials from the two countries exchanged public threats and admonishments Wednesday, then met later that day to work out their differences. Courtney Mcbride, WSJ, "Dispute Mars Conclusion of NATO Anniversary Event in Washington," 4 Apr. 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

18 May 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

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


something valued as if it were money

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