from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To give in return for something received; trade.
  • intransitive verb To give and receive reciprocally; interchange.
  • intransitive verb To give up for a substitute.
  • intransitive verb To turn in for replacement.
  • intransitive verb To give something in return for something received; make an exchange.
  • intransitive verb To be received in exchange.
  • noun The act or an instance of exchanging.
  • noun One that is exchanged.
  • noun A place or network for exchanging things, especially a center where securities or commodities are bought and sold.
  • noun A telephone exchange.
  • noun A system of payments using instruments, such as negotiable drafts, instead of money.
  • noun The fee or percentage charged for participating in such a system of payment.
  • noun A bill of exchange.
  • noun A rate of exchange.
  • noun The amount of difference in the actual value of two or more currencies or between values of the same currency at two or more places.
  • noun A dialogue.
  • adjective Of or relating to a reciprocal arrangement between a local and a foreign institution or group.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In com., to part with in return for some equivalent; transfer for a recompense; barter: as, to exchange goods in foreign countries for their native productions; the workman exchanges his labor for money.
  • To give and receive reciprocally; give and take; communicate mutually; interchange: as, to exchange horses, clothes, thoughts, civilities.
  • To quit or part with for something else; give up in substitution; make a change or transition from: as, to exchange a crown for a cowl; to exchange a throne for a cell or a hermitage; to exchange a life of ease for a life of toil.
  • Synonyms To change, trade, truck, swap, bandy, commute. See the noun.
  • To make an exchange; pass or be taken as an equivalent: as, how much will a sovereign exchange for in American money?
  • To go, by exchange with another officer, from one regiment or branch of service to another.
  • noun A mutual transfer of two officers in different regiments or branches of the service.
  • noun In chess, the advantage of having a rook against the opponent's knight or bishop.
  • noun The giving of one thing or commodity for another; the act of parting with something in return for an equivalent; traffic by interchange of commodities; barter.
  • noun The act of giving up or resigning one thing or state for another: as, the exchange of a crown for a cloister.
  • noun The act of giving and receiving reciprocally; mutual transfer: as, an exchange of thoughts or of civilities.
  • noun Mutual substitution; return: used chiefly in the phrase in exchange.
  • noun That which is given in return for something received, or received in return for what is given.
  • noun Hence Among journalists, a newspaper or other regular publication sent in exchange for another.
  • noun In law: A reciprocal transfer of property for property, as distinguished from a transfer for a money consideration.
  • noun At common law, more specifically, a reciprocal or mutual grant of equal interests in land, the one in consideration of the other, as a grant of a fee simple in return for a fee simple.
  • noun In com.: The giving or receiving of the money of one country or region in return for an equivalent sum in that of another, or the giving or receiving of a sum of money in one place for a bill ordering the payment of an equivalent sum in another.
  • noun The method or system by which debits and credits in different places are settled without the actual transference of the money—documents, usually called bills of exchange, representing values, being given and received.
  • noun The rate at which the documentary transfer of funds can be made; the course or rate of exchange: as, if the debts reciprocally due by two places be equal, the exchange will be at par; but when greater in one than in the other, the exchange will be against that place which has the larger remittances to make, and in favor of the other. Abbreviated exch.
  • noun A place where the merchants, brokers, and bankers of a city in general, or those of a particular class, meet at certain hours daily to transact business with one another by purchase and sale.
  • noun The central station where the lines from all the subscribers in any telephone system meet, and where connections can be made between the lines.
  • noun In arithmetic, a rule for finding how much of the money of one country is equivalent to a given sum of the money of another.
  • noun A statute of 1878 (41 Vict., c. 13) which declared signature a sufficient acceptance.
  • noun A statute of 1882 (45 and 46 Vict., c. 61) which codifies the whole body of English law relating to bills, notes, and checks.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To be changed or received in exchange for; to pass in exchange.
  • transitive verb To part with give, or transfer to another in consideration of something received as an equivalent; -- usually followed by for before the thing received.
  • transitive verb To part with for a substitute; to lay aside, quit, or resign (something being received in place of the thing parted with).
  • transitive verb To give and receive reciprocally, as things of the same kind; to barter; to swap
  • noun The act of giving or taking one thing in return for another which is regarded as an equivalent.
  • noun The act of substituting one thing in the place of another; ; also, the act of giving and receiving reciprocally.
  • noun The thing given or received in return; esp., a publication exchanged for another.
  • noun (Com.) The process of setting accounts or debts between parties residing at a distance from each other, without the intervention of money, by exchanging orders or drafts, called bills of exchange. These may be drawn in one country and payable in another, in which case they are called foreign bills; or they may be drawn and made payable in the same country, in which case they are called inland bills. The term bill of exchange is often abbreviated into exchange.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English eschaungen, from Anglo-Norman eschaungier, from Vulgar Latin *excambiāre : Latin ex-, ex- + Late Latin cambīre, to exchange, barter; see change.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English eschaungen, from Anglo-Norman eschaungier, eschanger, from the Old French verb eschangier, eschanger (whence modern French échanger), from Vulgar Latin *excambiāre, present active infinitive of *excambiō (from Latin ex with Late Latin cambiō).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English eschaunge, from Anglo-Norman eschaunge, from Old French eschange (whence modern French échange), from the verb eschanger, from Vulgar Latin *excambiāre, present active infinitive of *excambiō (from Latin ex with Late Latin cambiō). Spelling later changed on the basis of ex- in English.


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  • In chess, this word is often used in "exchange sacrifice", meaning giving up a rook for either a knight or bishop.

    February 21, 2007

  • See metathesis for wordplay usage.

    May 23, 2008