\ ˈswäp How to pronounce swap (audio) \
swapped; swapping

Definition of swap

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to give in trade : barter
2 : to take turns in telling swap stories

intransitive verb

: to make an exchange



Definition of swap (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act, instance, or process of exchanging one thing for another

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Other Words from swap


swapper noun

Examples of swap in a Sentence

Verb He swapped his cupcake for a candy bar. I swapped seats with my sister so she could see the stage better. I liked her blue notebook and she liked my red one, so we swapped. Noun They made the swap in secret. we made a swap: I'll do the dishes tonight and she'll do them for me tomorrow
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In the 1920s and 1930s, many white consumers swapped skin lighteners for tanning lotions as time spent sunbathing and playing outdoors became a sign of a healthy and leisured lifestyle. Lynn M. Thomas, Quartz Africa, "There’s a complex history of skin lighteners in Africa and beyond," 9 Mar. 2020 Italians swap messages about the stores that might have Amuchina briefly in stock. Chico Harlan, Washington Post, "Italian hand sanitizer Amuchina inspires memes as its producer races to meet demand," 6 Mar. 2020 The teams have not swapped players since Dec. 4, 1990, when Oakland sent Darren Lewis and a prospect to San Francisco for Ernie Riles . . . Peter Abraham, BostonGlobe.com, "Why Ben Cherington is more prepared to be a GM this time," 22 Feb. 2020 Marcks even swapped out the Angels’ firearms for a softball, glove and bat in the silhouettes engulfed in flames, a detail the artist enjoyed. Ben Flanagan | Bflanagan@al.com, al, "Alabama softball meets ‘Charlie’s Angels’ in new Druid City chalkboard tribute," 20 Feb. 2020 But even swapping on a set of 19-inch wheels wrapped with winter tires—a package from Volvo that retails for $3250—did little to smooth out the impacts of Ann Arbor's crumbling roads. Drew Dorian, Car and Driver, "Long-Term 2019 Volvo XC60: New Engine, New Platform, New Factory, No Surprises," 13 Feb. 2020 Today, during New York Fashion Week the actress swapped her short hair for extra long extensions and a caramel hair color that's literally to-die-for for the Michael Kors show. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "Ashley Benson's Bob Just Got a Major Makeover," 12 Feb. 2020 Milby and Austin swapped divisional spots in 5A football. Jack Marrion, Houston Chronicle, "Houston ISD back together in 4A football," 10 Feb. 2020 Saturday's contest, though, swapped Eli Brooks in for point guard Zavier Simpson as Winston's primary defender. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "How Michigan basketball figured out how to stop Cassius Winston," 9 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Customers are able to skip weeks, swap recipes and cancel anytime. oregonlive, "Hungry? Want to eat healthy? These tasty meals can be delivered to your door during the coronavirus," 25 Mar. 2020 Here’s what else is happening Prisoner swap: Iran has released the French academic Roland Marchal, a French official said. Mike Ives, New York Times, "Your Monday Briefing," 23 Mar. 2020 That’s the only possible explanation for the deal that sent DeAndre Hopkins, one of the NFL’s best receivers, to the Valley of the Sun in exchange for running back David Johnson and a minor draft pick swap. Jeremy Cluff, azcentral, "Arizona Cardinals receive high praise for DeAndre Hopkins trade, NFL free agency deals," 20 Mar. 2020 On Tuesday, the German military said its troops going into Afghanistan would be quarantined for two weeks and any troop swaps would be postponed for at least two weeks. Julian E. Barnes, BostonGlobe.com, "Coronavirus Disrupts Troop Withdrawal in Afghanistan," 18 Mar. 2020 The company is offering three choices for people who have bought tickets for March: donate, swap or refund the tickets. Wei-huan Chen, Houston Chronicle, "Alley Theatre cancels March shows due to coronavirus," 12 Mar. 2020 Tour goers should park at the Gothard Street parking lot on the east side of campus to avoid the swap-meet crowd on the west side. Los Angeles Times, "Get inspired by gorgeous gardens at these 2020 spring garden tours," 11 Mar. 2020 Cars blazed by all night long, coming in just for tires, gas, and driver swaps. Eric Adams, Wired, "How a Street-Smart Supercar Got Ready for the Racetrack," 17 Feb. 2020 Chili Cook-off and clothing swap: Don’t forget that from 3-5 p.m. Feb. 23, the Second Annual Coventry PEACE Campus Chili Cook-off will be the place to be. cleveland, "Annual Pancake Breakfast with the Birds at Shaker Nature Center is Feb. 29: Press Run," 14 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'swap.' 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 swap


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


1625, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for swap


Middle English swappen to strike; from the practice of striking hands in closing a business deal

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Time Traveler for swap

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for swap

Last Updated

27 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Swap.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swap. Accessed 5 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for swap



Financial Definition of swap

What It Is

A swap is an agreement between two parties to exchange a series of future cash flows.

How It Works

Swaps are financial agreements to exchange cash flows. Swaps can be based on interest rates, stock indices, foreign currency exchange rates and even commodities prices.

Let's walk through an example of a plain vanilla swap, which is simply an interest rate swap in which one party pays a fixed interest rate and the other pays a floating interest rate.

The party paying the floating rate "leg" of the swap believes that interest rates will go down. If they do, the party's interest payments will go down as well.

The party paying the fixed rate "leg" of the swap doesn't want to take the chance that rates will increase, so they lock in their interest payments with a fixed rate.

Company XYZ issues $10 million in 15-year corporate bonds with a variable interest rate of LIBOR + 150 basis points. LIBOR is currently 3%, so Company XYZ pays bondholders 4.5%.

After selling the bonds, an analyst at Company XYZ decides there's reason to believe LIBOR will increase in the near term. Company XYZ doesn't want to be exposed to an increase in LIBOR, so it enters into a swap agreement with Investor ABC.

Company XYZ agrees to pay Investor ABC 4.58% on $10,000,000 each year for 15 years. Investor ABC agrees to pay Company XYZ LIBOR + 1.5% on $10,000,000 per year for 15 years.  Note that the floating rate payments that XYZ receives from ABC will always match the payments they need to make to their bondholders.

Investor ABC thinks that interest rates are going to go down. He is willing to accept fixed rates from Company XYZ

To do this, Company XYZ structures a swap of the future interest payments with an investor willing to buy the stream of interest payments at this variable rate and pay a fixed amount for each period.  At the time of the swap, the amount to be paid over the life of the debt is the same.

The investor is betting that the variable interest rate will go down, lowering his or her interest cost, but the interest payments from Company XYZ will be the same, allowing a gain (i.e. arbitrage) on the difference.

Why It Matters

Interest rate swaps have been one of the most successful derivatives ever introduced. They are widely used by corporations, financial institutions and governments.

According to the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the notional principal of over-the-counter derivatives market was an astounding $615 trillion in the second half of 2009. Of that amount, swaps represented over $349 trillion of the total.

Source: Investing Answers


How to pronounce swap (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of swap

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to give something to someone and receive something in return : to trade or exchange (things)
: to replace (something) with something else



English Language Learners Definition of swap (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act of giving or taking one thing in return for another thing : a trade or exchange


\ ˈswäp How to pronounce swap (audio) \
swapped; swapping

Kids Definition of swap

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to give in exchange : make an exchange : trade



Kids Definition of swap (Entry 2 of 2)

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\ ˈswäp \

Legal Definition of swap

1 : an exchange of securities
2 : a derivative contract in which two parties (as corporations) agree to exchange rates especially relating to debt

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More from Merriam-Webster on swap

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for swap

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with swap

Spanish Central: Translation of swap

Nglish: Translation of swap for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of swap for Arabic Speakers

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