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

Iran this week began enriching uranium beyond the limit set under its 2015 agreement with world powers, which curbed its atomic energy activities in exchange for widespread sanctions relief. Erin Cunningham,, "US accuses Iran of ‘nuclear extortion’ at emergency meeting of atomic energy watchdog," 10 July 2019 Under the scheme, immigrants with a net worth of $1.2 million could get permanent residency in exchange for providing the government an interest-free, five-year loan of $609,000. Joshua Berlinger, CNN, "Wife of Chinese multimillionaire sues over $200,000 fine for not living in $20M Vancouver mansion," 10 July 2019 However, the Navy plans to eventually seek redevelopment proposals for the 70.46-acre property, offering a long-term ground lease in exchange for new facilities for its workers. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Navy will consider ‘Grand Central Station’ in redevelopment of Point Loma base," 10 July 2019 Oded’s parents immigrated to Israel in the 1970s, after the Jewish state reportedly made cash payments to the oppressive regime of Nicolae Ceausescu in exchange for exit visas. David Degner, Smithsonian, "Two Tour Guides—One Israeli, One Palestinian—Offer a New Way to See the Holy Land," 9 July 2019 On January 27, 1997, the Wings sent Johnson to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Tomas Sandstrom. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "Greg Johnson, who played for the Detroit Red Wings from 1993-97, dead at 48," 9 July 2019 The Wolves acquired Culver from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for the draft rights to No. Jace Frederick, Twin Cities, "Noah Vonleh sees ‘a lot of opportunity’ with Timberwolves," 8 July 2019 Amazon started the event five years ago, using deep discounts on televisions, toys and clothes to attract and retain Prime members, who pay subscription fees in exchange for free shipping and other perks. Josh Eidelson And Spencer Soper,, "Amazon workers plan Prime Day strike at Minnesota warehouse," 8 July 2019 Thrilled!’ Melissa McCarthy is also in talks to star as the sea witch Ursula, who strikes a deal with Ariel to give her legs in exchange for her voice. Alexia Fernandez,, "The Little Mermaid Fans Want Gordon Ramsay Playing Angry Chef Louis in Live-Action Adaptation," 8 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The two sides exchanged first offers before offseason activities broke for summer. Jori Epstein, USA TODAY, "Team-friendly deal? Dak Prescott explains why Cowboys shouldn’t need to go that way," 11 July 2019 The two exchanged a little mid-game banter while wearing headsets and microphones tied into the Fox broadcast during the fourth inning. Globe Staff,, "Alex Cora, Dave Roberts chat about pitches while miked up at All-Star Game," 10 July 2019 In Wasilla, where a bloc of pro-traditional-dividend lawmakers has gathered, protesters for and against the traditional dividend are exchanging chants in front of Wasilla Middle School. Anchorage Daily News, "Legislature will meet Wednesday to consider overriding governor on budget vetoes," 9 July 2019 The United States and Mexico have traded $257.7 billion worth of goods, and the U.S. has exchanged $253.9 billion worth of goods with Canada, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Pamela Wood,, "Maryland Gov. Hogan urges ratification of U.S. trade deal with Canada, Mexico," 8 July 2019 On July 1, Lil Nas X exchanged tweets with the chef, asking to learn the exquisite art of panini making. Nick Romano,, "Gordon Ramsay teaches Lil Nas X how to make a 'meanie' panini," 8 July 2019 Their Royal Highnesses exchanged vows at St George’s Chapel within the grounds of Windsor Castle on May 19th, 2018. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Who Is Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Photographer Chris Allerton?," 6 July 2019 The father and the other driver exchanged a few words before the suspect allegedly fired shots into the man’s car, where his two small children were, Gonzalez tweeted. Robyn Merrett,, "2 Toddlers Fight for Their Lives After Fireworks Ignite Inside Car During Road Rage Shooting," 5 July 2019 Hurdle and Maddon have exchanged words from long distance dating back to April 2018, when Hurdle expressed disbelief over Baez not running out a popup. Mark Gonzales,, "‘It was the first time I saw Joe this mad’: Maddon ejected after more inside pitching from the Pirates in the Cubs’ 11-3 win," 3 July 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

13 Jul 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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