\ 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 Collins turned the tide during the Fuel attack by swapping to Widowmaker and closing off sight lines and nailing a few headshots. Sean Collins, Dallas News, "Three takeaways: Dallas Fuel can’t support new stars, drop season opener to Los Angeles Valiant," 9 Feb. 2020 The chef’s classic Milanese is updated by swapping out veal for lamb, because lamb meat is particularly tender in Morocco. Sara Lieberman, Fortune, "Find some of the world’s best Italian food in Morocco," 1 Feb. 2020 And once you're done posting your sweet Galentine's Day Instagram caption, finish the day by swapping one of our favorite Galentine's Day gifts or watching one of the best romantic comedies of all time. Juliana Labianca, Good Housekeeping, "30 Cute Galentine's Day Quotes and Instagram Captions for All Your Sweetest Snaps," 13 Jan. 2020 Dress up your next movie night by swapping out the usual soda-and-popcorn combo with a sweet champagne. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "The Best Foods to Pair with Champagne," 19 Dec. 2019 Christmas is for family! Kelly Ripa is honoring her brood this holiday season by swapping out traditional Christmas tree ornaments with nostalgic family photos. Robyn Merrett, PEOPLE.com, "Kelly Ripa Shares Video of Her Christmas Tree Decorated with Pictures of Her Entire Family," 4 Dec. 2019 The Lions acquired him by swapping conditional seventh-round picks with the Browns. Colleen Kane, chicagotribune.com, "After a 1st-quarter shock, the Bears defense recovers to shut down rookie quarterback David Blough and the Lions," 28 Nov. 2019 The Dutch midfielder was viewed as perhaps the brightest prospect in Barcelona's famous academy, but opted to follow in the footsteps of Neymar by swapping Barcelona for Paris. SI.com, "Xavi Simons Suffering From 'Neymar Syndrome' & Regrets Leaving Barcelona for PSG," 30 Oct. 2019 HitYourSTRIDE A post shared by STRIDE (@runwithstride) on Oct 3, 2019 at 10:47am PDT New to the boutique fitness landscape, Stride alters the SoulCycle format by swapping the bikes for treadmills. Sameer Rao, baltimoresun.com, "Feeling the spurn: 6 brands fitness fanatics can’t find in Baltimore," 29 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Libor touches over $200 trillion in financial products, ranging from interest-rate swaps to corporate loans and credit cards. Julia-ambra Verlaine, WSJ, "Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac to Stop Accepting Libor Mortgages," 6 Feb. 2020 He was released in 2014 in a prisoner swap arranged by President Barack Obama. NBC News, "American man kidnapped in Afghanistan, U.S. officials say," 6 Feb. 2020 The Wolves tried to woo him then, too, but Russell instead steered that sign-and-trade swap toward the Warriors, the five-time defending Western Conference champions who've won three NBA titles during that span. Dave Campbell, Houston Chronicle, "Source: Wolves send Andrew Wiggins to Warriors for D'Angelo Russell," 6 Feb. 2020 Odds are, the Spurs won’t be major players in today’s NBA swap-a-palooza. Jeff Mcdonald, ExpressNews.com, "Trade deadline finds Spurs at a crossroads," 5 Feb. 2020 That swap allows for a lower load floor, creating more space inside—especially for passengers in the third row, who previously had to adopt a position unnervingly similar to the Squatty Potty pose. Annie White, Car and Driver, "2021 Cadillac Escalade Gets Even Bigger and Bolder," 5 Feb. 2020 Rob Hayes’ script centers on Gretel – hence the title’s name swap – and turns her into a woke, coming-of-age super-heroine who outsmarts a witch. Mark Kennedy, Detroit Free Press, "‘Gretel & Hansel’ puts the dread in dreadful," 30 Jan. 2020 Queen Elizabeth has attended the meeting, where the women listen to talks on history and swap tips on crafts and baking, for many years, making it a fixture in her annual winter break away from London. Simon Perry, PEOPLE.com, "Queen Elizabeth Makes Last-Minute Cancellation on Tea Time with Local Women Due to a Cold," 23 Jan. 2020 The Federal Reserve and four other financial regulators in October proposed loosening the rules governing financial swaps between affiliates of the same financial parent. David J. Lynch, Washington Post, "Trump’s China deal was pitched as boon for working class, but he celebrated with Wall Street titans," 20 Jan. 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

18 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Swap.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swap. Accessed 27 Feb. 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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