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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from exchange


exchangeability \ iks-​ˌchān-​jə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce exchange (audio) \ noun
exchangeable \ iks-​ˈchān-​jə-​bəl How to pronounce exchange (audio) \ adjective
exchanger \ iks-​ˈchān-​jər How to pronounce exchange (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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Sharks are emerging as sellers at the trade deadline for the second straight season, on Saturday dealing backup goaltender Devan Dubynk to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for defenseman Greg Pateryn and a fifth-round pick in the 2021 draft. Stephen Whyno, San Francisco Chronicle, "Sharks trade goaltender Devan Dubnyk to Avalanche," 10 Apr. 2021 In exchange for the pick from Yzerman's old team in Tampa Bay, the Wings shipped minor-league defenseman Brian Lashoff to the Lightning, and absorbed 25% of the contract of Columbus defenseman David Savard, who was also headed to Tampa Bay. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "Steve Yzerman's 2021 NHL trade deadline work brings in another fourth-round pick," 10 Apr. 2021 Washington was the first to withdraw from the deal, a deal which limited its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, under Trump’s direction. Rob Crilly, Washington Examiner, "US official says nuclear talks would be 'infinitely easier' if Iran met face to face," 10 Apr. 2021 The institute was one of the first organizations to make a sophisticated research vessel available to the scientific community at no cost and in exchange for making the findings freely available. Michael Verdon, Robb Report, "Meet the Ocean Activists Using Their Own Money to Study the Seas and Combat Climate Change," 10 Apr. 2021 And there are everyone’s favorites — dolphins — which, Recio tells us, guide ships, chase great white sharks away from vulnerable swimmers and routinely assist Australian fishermen by herding their catch in exchange for a portion of the take. Washington Post, "Eye-opening acts of empathy in the animal kingdom," 9 Apr. 2021 The Colts got Wentz in exchange for the 84th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and a conditional pick in the 2022 draft, which will be either a first- or second-rounder. Mark Inabinett |, al, "Ryan Kelly shares his favorite piece of advice from Nick Saban," 9 Apr. 2021 The 2015 nuclear accord, which then-President Donald Trump abandoned three years later, offered Iran sanctions relief in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program. Fox News, "Iran frees South Korean ship it held amid dispute over funds," 9 Apr. 2021 With the ascension of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, however, the kingdom has been more willing to lure foreign investors and cede some access to its oil assets in exchange for cash. Sarah Mcfarlane, WSJ, "Aramco Strikes $12.4 Billion Oil Pipeline Deal With EIG-Led Group," 9 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The two began to exchange letters through the war years. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth: Their Love Story in 30 Photos," 9 Apr. 2021 The company typically gives people who exchange a car seat a $30 gift card, which can be used on anything in the store, not just baby supplies. Chris Morris, Fortune, "Target’s car seat trade-in event is back through April 17," 6 Apr. 2021 His players howled with delight at the thought of gathering once more, freed from their uneasiness to exchange farewell hugs and head home. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, "For Mick Cronin, UCLA Bruins are still winners despite agonizing Final Four loss," 5 Apr. 2021 Ultimately, the state had to spend an extra $2.5 million — on top of the $9 million original price — to exchange the tests. Pamela Wood,, "Maryland purchased South Korean COVID tests with no contract, meaning state had to pay to replace faulty tests, audit finds," 2 Apr. 2021 The report alleges the United States was pressured during negotiations for the eventual prisoner swap to exchange Levinson for Ali Reza Asgari, a top Iranian general, who was reported to have fled the country with CIA help. Katherine Doyle, Washington Examiner, "Still no answers about American hostage Robert Levinson, spy named in Matt Gaetz scandal," 1 Apr. 2021 While Anney was happy to exchange cell numbers, there was another number that intrigued her more. Washington Post, "Date Lab: ‘The most interesting part of the date was when we talked about rating it’," 1 Apr. 2021 In February, a teenage boy said Charles groomed him and forced him to exchange photos on Snapchat. Elise Brisco, USA TODAY, "'There is no excuse': YouTube star James Charles apologizes for messaging with minors on Snapchat," 1 Apr. 2021 Five reverse ATMs are located throughout the ballpark to exchange cash to credit. Dallas News, "A look at the Globe Life Field health and safety protocols for 2021," 28 Mar. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about exchange

Time Traveler for exchange

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for exchange

Last Updated

14 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Exchange.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!