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 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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Both deny an anti-semitic exchange that reportedly took place. Julyssa Lopez, Glamour, "A Timeline of the Women's March Controversy," 18 Jan. 2019 The tests resulted in the stiff economic sanctions and an alarming exchange of public name-calling between Trump and Kim that sparked fear of war. Fox News, "Bolton seeks vow from North Korea to abandon nuclear program, as prerequisite for summit," 2 Oct. 2018 In March 2017, the Smoking Gun website published an article that purported to include that message, in an exchange with Stone. Ken Dilanian /, NBC News, "The timing, the proof, the details: Takeaways from Mueller's new indictments," 13 July 2018 That's what happened to a Canadian cryptocurrency exchange when its founder, Gerry Cotten, was the only person who knew the credentials to access hundreds of millions of dollars worth of customer assets and died unexpectedly. Alexander George, Popular Mechanics, "Crypto Exchange Founder's Untimely Death Leaves $190 Million Locked Away in Limbo," 4 Feb. 2019 The two sides also agreed to a prisoner exchange that has yet to take place. Samy Magdy, The Seattle Times, "UN envoy arrives in Yemen after deadly weekend attack," 28 Jan. 2019 Kevin, however, was oblivious to the whole exchange, which got a few people upset: But things really started to heat up online when the episode flashed back to prom night for Kevin, his date, and Randall (Kate stayed at home). Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Why 'This Is Us' Viewers Were Super Upset With Kevin After This Week's Episode," 24 Oct. 2018 He chats and bonds with them in a seemingly authentic way, which brings me back to his exchange with Emerald. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "A Star Is Born," 5 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 The Glee alum exchanged vows with her now-husband on Saturday, March 9 in front of a group of their closest friends and family, People reports. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Lea Michele and Zandy Reich Are Married," 10 Mar. 2019 According to The Sun, Meghan and Prince Harry exchanged niceties with the King during their visit. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle Curtsied to King Mohammed VI During Her and Prince Harry's Trip to Morocco," 26 Feb. 2019 Both Trainor and Sabara reportedly exchanged handwritten vows. Stacey Leasca, Glamour, "Meghan Trainor Is Married," 23 Dec. 2018 This is just the beginning of Jonas and Chopra's wedding festivities: The duo will reportedly exchange vows in two ceremonies over the weekend, in celebration of both of their respective cultures. Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "Priyanka Chopra, Sophie Turner, and Nick and Joe Jonas Look Incredible at Pre-Wedding Celebrations," 29 Nov. 2018 Water does enter the lungs, which can't exchange oxygen to and from the blood, and the swimmer's blood oxygen level drops. Lindsey Murray, Good Housekeeping, "What Every Parent Needs to Know About "Dry Drowning"," 27 Mar. 2019 There's Crashing, which follows the lives of six people living together as property guardians of a hospital that's out of use, exchanging cheap rent and an absurd set of strict rules for keeping the building safe. Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "8 TV Shows Like 'Killing Eve' to Binge If You Can't Wait for Season 2," 17 Jan. 2019 Yes, Jonas and Chopra are rumored to be exchanging their vows inside a literal palace. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas Are Reportedly Getting Married in a Literal Palace," 12 Nov. 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.

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

Statistics for exchange

Last Updated

20 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for exchange

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

See more words from the same century

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).


an act or instance of returning to life

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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