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

  • transitive v. To give in return for something received; trade: exchange dollars for francs; exchanging labor for room and board.
  • transitive v. To give and receive reciprocally; interchange: exchange gifts; exchange ideas.
  • transitive v. To give up for a substitute: exchange a position in the private sector for a post in government.
  • transitive v. To turn in for replacement: exchange defective merchandise at a store.
  • intransitive v. To give something in return for something received; make an exchange.
  • intransitive v. To be received in exchange: At that time the British pound exchanged for $2.80.
  • n. The act or an instance of exchanging: a prisoner exchange; an exchange of greetings.
  • n. One that is exchanged.
  • n. A place where things are exchanged, especially a center where securities or commodities are bought and sold: a stock exchange.
  • n. A telephone exchange.
  • n. A system of payments using instruments, such as negotiable drafts, instead of money.
  • n. The fee or percentage charged for participating in such a system of payment.
  • n. A bill of exchange.
  • n. A rate of exchange.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A dialogue: a heated exchange between the two in-laws.
  • adj. Of or relating to a reciprocal arrangement between a local and a foreign institution or group: an exchange student; exchange programs for students learning foreign languages.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An act of exchanging or trading.
  • n. A place for conducting trading.
  • n. The fourth through sixth digits of a ten-digit phone number (the first three before the introduction of area codes).
  • n. A conversation.
  • n. The loss of one piece and associated capture of another
  • v. To trade or barter.
  • v. To replace with a similar item.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of giving or taking one thing in return for another which is regarded as an equivalent.
  • n. The act of substituting one thing in the place of another; ; also, the act of giving and receiving reciprocally.
  • n. The thing given or received in return; esp., a publication exchanged for another.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A mutual grant of equal interests, the one in consideration of the other. Estates exchanged must be equal in quantity, as fee simple for fee simple.
  • n. The place where the merchants, brokers, and bankers of a city meet at certain hours, to transact business; also, the institution which sets regulations and maintains the physical facilities of such a place. In this sense the word was at one time often contracted to 'change
  • intransitive v. To be changed or received in exchange for; to pass in exchange.
  • transitive v. 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 v. To part with for a substitute; to lay aside, quit, or resign (something being received in place of the thing parted with).
  • transitive v. To give and receive reciprocally, as things of the same kind; to barter; to swap

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • n. 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.
  • n. The act of giving up or resigning one thing or state for another: as, the exchange of a crown for a cloister.
  • n. The act of giving and receiving reciprocally; mutual transfer: as, an exchange of thoughts or of civilities.
  • n. Mutual substitution; return: used chiefly in the phrase in exchange.
  • n. That which is given in return for something received, or received in return for what is given.
  • n. Hence Among journalists, a newspaper or other regular publication sent in exchange for another.
  • n. In law: A reciprocal transfer of property for property, as distinguished from a transfer for a money consideration.
  • n. 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.
  • n. 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.
  • n. 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.
  • n. 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.
  • n. 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.
  • n. The central station where the lines from all the subscribers in any telephone system meet, and where connections can be made between the lines.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A statute of 1878 (41 Vict., c. 13) which declared signature a sufficient acceptance.
  • n. A statute of 1882 (45 and 46 Vict., c. 61) which codifies the whole body of English law relating to bills, notes, and checks.
  • n. A mutual transfer of two officers in different regiments or branches of the service.
  • n. In chess, the advantage of having a rook against the opponent's knight or bishop.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. exchange a penalty for a less severe one
  • v. give to, and receive from, one another
  • n. a workplace that serves as a telecommunications facility where lines from telephones can be connected together to permit communication
  • n. a workplace for buying and selling; open only to members
  • n. chemical process in which one atom or ion or group changes places with another
  • n. the act of changing one thing for another thing
  • v. put in the place of another; switch seemingly equivalent items
  • v. hand over one and receive another, approximately equivalent
  • n. a mutual expression of views (especially an unpleasant one)
  • n. (chess) the capture by both players (usually on consecutive moves) of pieces of equal value
  • n. the act of giving something in return for something received
  • n. reciprocal transfer of equivalent sums of money (especially the currencies of different countries)
  • v. exchange or replace with another, usually of the same kind or category
  • n. (sports) an unbroken sequence of several successive strokes
  • n. (chess) gaining (or losing) a rook in return for a knight or bishop
  • n. the act of putting one thing or person in the place of another:
  • v. change over, change around, as to a new order or sequence


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 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.

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).


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  • See metathesis for wordplay usage.

    May 23, 2008

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

    February 21, 2007