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 Democrats say Trump wanted the investigations in exchange for the release of about $400 million in military aid to Ukraine. Fox News, "Public Trump impeachment hearings set to begin as Dems bank on key first witnesses," 13 Nov. 2019 To get more control over the phone, Steve Jobs negotiated with what was then known as Cingular —now AT&T Wireless — for an exclusive deal in exchange for an unusual amount of autonomy in hardware and software design. Owen Thomas,, "The Apple Card is just a credit card (and not a particularly special one)," 13 Nov. 2019 In the 1851 treaties of Traverse des Sioux and Mendota, Dakota of the Oceti Sakowin (Great Sioux Nation) ceded land in Minnesota to the U.S. in exchange for money, goods, and services. Ruth Hopkins, Teen Vogue, "Treaties Between the United States and Indigenous Nations, Explained," 12 Nov. 2019 Prosecutors said the bank transferred billions of dollars’ worth of gold to Iran in exchange for oil and gas. David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times, "Behind Trump’s Dealings With Turkey: Sons-in-Law Married to Power," 12 Nov. 2019 In 2014, the Taliban obtained five top commanders in exchange for the U.S. soldier in a deal with the U.S. that was brokered by Qatar. NBC News, "Afghan president: Taliban to release 2 kidnapped American University professors in prisoner swap," 12 Nov. 2019 The bank is willing to reduce the closing costs in exchange for the higher interest rate. cleveland, "How to save money on mortgage refinancing fees: Money Matters," 10 Nov. 2019 The Dolphins traded Fitzpatrick on Sept. 17 in exchange for a first-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. Mark Inabinett |, al, "Watch Minkah Fitzpatrick score another TD for Steelers," 10 Nov. 2019 He was traded from St. Louis Blues on Wednesday in exchange for forward Jacob de la Rose, 24, a waiver pick-up from last fall. Chris Allen, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Red Wings' Robby Fabbri scores twice in debut vs. Boston Bruins," 9 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Also found on his cell phone were hundreds of messages exchanged with numerous individuals involving the discussion and sharing of child pornography. Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press, "Feds: Tumblr tip led to man with 20,000 child porn images on cell phone," 13 Nov. 2019 Earlier this year, a trove of cellphone messages exchanged by prosecutors raised fresh questions about the fairness of Mr. da Silva’s prosecution. New York Times, "Ex-President ‘Lula’ Is Freed From Prison in Brazil After Supreme Court Ruling," 8 Nov. 2019 The Heat’s one-time hope Tyler Johnson, who now plays for the Suns, exchanged jerseys with James Johnson. Dave Hyde,, "Hyde5: Deion Sanders as FSU’s coach? Fun but fantasy," 8 Nov. 2019 Elsewhere in France, most residents exchange two kisses when greeting somebody, except for those in the region of Languedoc and the south of the Rhône-Alpes region. Mathieu Avanzi, Quartz, "Which cheek and how many? The origins of the other French kiss," 6 Nov. 2019 The teams exchanged field goals in the second quarter. Jason Beede,, "Lake Nona tops East River," 2 Nov. 2019 Emails exchanged by airport officials after the security breach indicate that some airport employees might have passed by the open gate and failed to notify anyone. Robert Higgs, cleveland, "Cleveland Hopkins International Airport security issues, relationship with TSA both improving, director says," 31 Oct. 2019 The two exchanged passes to work their way into the box, but the key pass came from Rashford, who pulled off a lovely back-heel to tear through Norwich's last line of defence., "7 of the Best Moments From Another Fantastic Weekend of Premier League Action," 28 Oct. 2019 Sondland is the author of some of the incriminating text messages exchanged with the current US ambassador to Ukraine; he is scheduled to testify next week. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "The Week in Washington: Rudy in Hot Water," 13 Oct. 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

16 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Exchange.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 November 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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