Meaning of CHANGE in English


I. change 1 S1 W1 /tʃeɪndʒ/ BrE AmE verb

[ Word Family: adjective : ↑ changeable , ↑ interchangeable , ↑ changed ≠ UNCHANGED , changing ≠ ↑ unchanging , ↑ changeless ; noun : ↑ change , ↑ interchange , ↑ interchangeability ; verb : ↑ change , ↑ interchange ; adverb : ↑ interchangeably ]

[ Date: 1100-1200 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: changier , from Latin cambiare 'to exchange' ]

1 . BECOME DIFFERENT/MAKE SOMETHING DIFFERENT [intransitive and transitive] to become different, or to make something become different:

Susan has changed a lot since I last saw her.

Changing your eating habits is the best way to lose weight.

The leaves on trees change colour in the autumn.

change (from something) to something

He changed from being a nice lad to being rude and unhelpful.

change into

The hissing sound gradually changed into a low hum.

change somebody/something into something

A witch had changed him into a mouse.

change something to something

Mueller changed his name to Miller when he became a U.S. citizen.

2 . START DOING/USING SOMETHING DIFFERENT [intransitive and transitive] to stop doing or using one thing, and start doing or using something else instead SYN switch :

She changed jobs in May.

change (from something) to something

The company has recently changed to a more powerful computer system.

The ship changed course and headed south.

The company has had to change direction because of developments in technology.

Piper awkwardly tried to change the subject (=talk about something else) .

3 . REPLACE SOMETHING [transitive] to put or use something new or different in place of something else, especially because it is old, damaged, or broken:

Three boys were changing a tyre by the side of the road.

When I lost my keys, we had to change all the locks.

change something (from something) to something

The time of the meeting has been changed from 11 a.m. to 10:30.

How often do you change cars (=buy a new car and sell the old one) ?

4 . change your mind to change your decision, plan, or opinion about something:

Her father tried to get her to change her mind.

change your mind about

If you change your mind about the job, just give me a call.

5 . change sides to leave one party, group etc and join an opposing party, group etc:

It’s quite rare for politicians to change sides.


a) [intransitive and transitive] to take off your clothes and put on different ones:

Francis came in while Jay was changing.

Change your dress – that one looks dirty.

change into/out of

Sara changed into her swimsuit and ran out for a quick swim.

You’d better go and get changed.

b) [transitive] to put a clean ↑ nappy on a baby, or to put clean clothes on a baby or small child:

I bathed him and changed his diaper.

Can you change the baby?

7 . BED [transitive] to take the dirty ↑ sheet s off a bed and put on clean ones

8 . EXCHANGE GOODS [transitive] British English

a) to take back to a shop something that you have bought and get something different instead, especially because there is something wrong with it SYN exchange American English

change something for something

I bought these gloves for my daughter, but they’re too large. Can I change them for a smaller size?

b) to give a customer something different instead of what they have bought, especially because there is something wrong with it SYN exchange American English :

I’m sure the shop will change them for you.

9 . EXCHANGE MONEY [transitive]

a) to get smaller units of money that add up to the same value as a larger unit:

Can you change a £20 note?

b) to get money from one country for the same value of money from another country

change something into/for something

I want to change my dollars into pesos, please.

10 . TRAINS/BUSES/AIRCRAFT [intransitive and transitive] to get off one train, bus, or aircraft and into another in order to continue your journey

change at

Passengers for Liverpool should change at Crewe.

change trains/buses/planes etc

I had to change planes in Denver.

all change! (=used to tell passengers to get off a train because it does not go any further)

11 . change hands if property changes hands, it starts to belong to someone else:

The house has changed hands three times in the last two years.

12 . change places (with somebody)

a) to give someone your place and take their place:

Would you mind changing places with me so I can sit next to my friend?

b) to take someone else’s social position or situation in life instead of yours:

She may be rich, but I wouldn’t want to change places with her.

13 . GEAR [intransitive and transitive] to put the engine of a vehicle into a higher or lower ↑ gear in order to go faster or slower

change (into/out of) gear

Change into second gear as you approach the corner.

change up/down British English :

Change down before you get to the hill.

14 . change your tune informal to start expressing a different attitude and reacting in a different way, after something has happened:

The question is, will the president change his tune on taxes?

15 . WIND [intransitive] if the wind changes, it starts to blow in a different direction

16 . change your spots to change your character completely:

US business has changed its spots in recent years.

⇨ chop and change at ↑ chop 1 (3)

• • •


■ adverbs

▪ dramatically/drastically/radically (=a lot)

People’s work environment has changed dramatically in the past twenty years.

▪ completely

His life had completely changed since he met Anya.

▪ considerably

He has changed considerably in four years.

▪ significantly

The legal system has changed significantly since the rule was established.

▪ fundamentally

The political situation has fundamentally changed.

▪ rapidly/quickly

The market for phones is changing rapidly.

▪ slowly/gradually

Things are gradually changing.

▪ change overnight (=very quickly)

Old habits cannot be changed overnight.

■ nouns

▪ changing circumstances/conditions

The human brain adapts quickly to changing conditions.

▪ changing attitudes

Changing attitudes cause traditional ways of life to disappear.

▪ the changing role of somebody

the changing role of women in society

▪ changing patterns of work/behaviour etc

Changing patterns of work mean that more people are able to work from home.

▪ a changing environment

In order to survive, you must adapt to a changing environment.

▪ a changing world

Children are growing up in a changing world.

▪ changing times (=a period of time when a lot is changing)

We live in changing times.

• • •


■ to change something

▪ change to make someone or something different:

Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do to change the situation.


Being at college has changed her – she’s much more confident now.

▪ alter especially written tochange something so that it is better or more suitable:

You can alter the colour and size of the image using a remote control.


Can we alter the date of the meeting?

▪ adapt to change something slightly in order to improve it or make it more suitable:

How much would it cost to adapt the existing equipment?


You can adapt the recipe to suit your own requirements.

▪ adjust to make small changes in the position or level of something in order to improve it or make it more suitable:

How do you adjust the volume on the television?


He adjusted his tie in the mirror.

▪ modify especially written to make small changes to something such as a piece of equipment, a set of ideas, or a way of behaving in order to improve it or use it in a different way:

He’s modified his opinions since then.


a modified version of the original program.

▪ reform to change a law, system, organization etc so that it is fairer or more effective:

plans to reform the tax system


Health care needs to be completely reformed.

▪ revise to change a plan, idea, law etc because of new information and ideas:

In July, China revised the rules for foreign investment.


The findings could force the scientists to revise their ideas about climate change.

▪ reorganize to change the way that a system or organization works:

We’ve had to reorganize our database


During the 1980s, the government reorganized the civil service.

▪ restructure to make big changes to the way something is organized, especially a large political or economic system or a big company, in order to make it more effective:

The company has been restructured from top to bottom.

■ to change something completely

▪ transform to change something completely, especially so that it is much better:

Well, you’ve certainly transformed this place – it looks great!


Putin transformed the Russian economy.

▪ revolutionize to completely and permanently change the way people do something or think about something, especially because of a new idea or invention:

Computers have revolutionized the way we work.


This important discovery revolutionized our understanding of the universe.

■ to change something in order to deceive people

▪ distort to explain facts, statements etc in a way that makes them seem different from what they really are:

The judge said that she had deliberately tried to distort the facts.


Don’t try to distort the truth.

▪ twist to dishonestly change the meaning of a piece of information or of something that someone has said, in order to get an advantage for yourself or to support your own opinion:

He accused reporters of twisting his words.


In her article she twisted the meaning of what I said.

▪ misrepresent to give people a wrong idea about someone or their opinions, by what you write or say:

I hope I have not misrepresented her opinion.


He’s taking legal action to stop the film, claiming it grossly misrepresents him.

change something ↔ around phrasal verb

to move things into different positions:

When we’d changed the furniture around, the room looked bigger.

change over phrasal verb

to stop doing or using one thing and start doing or using another ⇨ changeover :

Complete all the exercises on one leg, then change over.

change over to

We hope to change over to the new software by next month.

II. change 2 S1 W1 BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: adjective : ↑ changeable , ↑ interchangeable , ↑ changed ≠ UNCHANGED , changing ≠ ↑ unchanging , ↑ changeless ; noun : ↑ change , ↑ interchange , ↑ interchangeability ; verb : ↑ change , ↑ interchange ; adverb : ↑ interchangeably ]

1 . THINGS BECOMING DIFFERENT [uncountable and countable] the process or result of something or someone becoming different:

I find it hard to cope with change.

scientists worried about climatic change

change in

changes in the immigration laws

A change in personality may mean your teenager has a drug problem.

change of

a change of temperature

No major changes were made to the book.

change for the better/worse (=a change that makes a situation better or worse)

There was a change for the better in the patient’s condition.

social/political/economic etc change

the sweeping political changes after the fall of communism

She had a change of heart (=change in attitude) and decided to stay.

Family life has undergone dramatic change in recent years.

2 . FROM ONE THING TO ANOTHER [countable] the fact of one thing or person being replaced by another:

The car needs an oil change.

change of

a change of government

a change of address

change from something to something

the gradual change from grasslands to true desert

The government has made some major policy changes.

3 . PLEASANT NEW SITUATION [singular] a situation or experience that is different from what happened before, and is usually interesting or enjoyable

change from

The morning was cool; a welcome change from the heat of the day before.

for a change

How about dinner out for a change?

it/that makes a change (=used to say that something is better than and different from usual)

‘Ron’s buying the drinks.’ ‘That makes a change.’

change of scene/air/pace etc (=when you go to a different place or do something different)

The patients benefit greatly from a change of scenery.

a change is as good as a rest (=used to say that starting to do something different is as good as having a rest)

4 . MONEY [uncountable]

a) the money that you get back when you have paid for something with more money than it costs:

Here’s your change, sir.

b) money in the form of coins, not paper money

in change

I have about a dollar in change.

Matt emptied the loose change from his pockets.

A beggar asked for some spare change (=coins that you do not need) .

c) coins or paper money that you give in exchange for the same amount of money in a larger unit

change for £1/$10

Excuse me, have you got change for a pound?

make change American English (=give someone change)

Can you make change for $20?

5 . small change

a) coins you have that do not have a high value:

I only had about a pound in small change.

b) used to emphasize that something is a small amount of money when it is compared to a larger amount:

The program costs $20 million a year, small change by Washington standards.

6 . change of clothes/underwear etc an additional set of clothes that you have with you, for example when you are travelling

7 . TRAIN/BUS/AIRCRAFT [countable] a situation in which you get off one train, bus, or aircraft and get on another in order to continue your journey:

Even with a change of trains, the subway is quicker than a cab at rush hour.

8 . get no change out of somebody British English spoken to get no useful information or help from someone:

I wouldn’t bother asking Richard – you’ll get no change out of him.

⇨ ring the changes at ↑ ring 2 (6)

• • •


■ adjectives

▪ big/major

Going to a new school is a big change for children.

▪ slight/small/minor

The proposed changes were relatively minor.

▪ gradual

There has been a gradual change in the weather.

▪ dramatic/drastic/radical (=very big, especially in way that is surprising)

The Industrial Revolution was a period of dramatic change.

▪ significant

The change in blood pressure was not significant.

▪ marked (=very noticeable)

There was a marked change in his behaviour.

▪ fundamental

Reducing waste requires a fundamental change in attitude.

▪ social/political/economic etc change

Demands for political and social change are growing.

▪ sweeping changes (=affecting many things or people, especially because of an official decision)

There are likely to be sweeping changes in the company.

▪ far-reaching changes (=important and having a great effect that will last a long time)

The Internet has brought about far-reaching changes in the way we work.

■ verbs

▪ make a change

We've had to make some changes to the design.

▪ introduce a change

A number of changes were introduced to the curriculum.

▪ bring (about) change ( also effect a change formal ) (=cause change)

The war brought about radical social change.


Treatment is aimed at effecting a change in the child’s negative behaviour.

▪ see/notice/observe a change

I saw a big change in her when I met her again.

▪ undergo a change (=be affected by a change)

The body undergoes a number of changes during this time.

▪ signal a change (=be a sign of a change)

Does this move signal a change in US foreign policy?

■ phrases

▪ the pace/rate of change

People sometimes feel alarmed by the pace of technological change.

• • •


▪ change noun [uncountable and countable] a situation in which someone or something becomes different, or the act of making something different:

There was a sudden change in the weather.


We are living in a period of great change.


He was told to make some slight changes to his essay.

▪ alteration noun [uncountable and countable] a change, especially a small one that happens naturally or gradually, or one that is made in order to improve something:

I noticed a slight alteration in her behaviour.


They had to make some alterations to their original theory.

▪ reform noun [uncountable and countable] a change made to a system or law in order to improve it:

He called for a reform of our outdated voting system.


Many people opposed the economic reforms.

▪ shift noun [countable] a change, especially in people’s attitudes or in the way they do things, or in the position of someone or something:

a shift in public opinion about the war


There has been a noticeable shift in government policy on education.


There needs to be a major shift away from road transport to rail transport.


After he died, there was a dramatic shift in the balance of power.

▪ swing a big change, especially in someone’s opinions or moods:

There has been a big swing toward the Democrats (=many more people are supporting them) .


The drug can cause mood swings.

▪ fluctuation noun [uncountable and countable] a change in something - used when something changes often:

fluctuations in the value of the dollar


temperature fluctuations


fluctuations in his mood


There has been some fluctuation in productivity levels.

■ a great change

▪ transformation noun [uncountable and countable] a change in which something or someone becomes completely different:

There has been a complete transformation in his attitude since he became a father.


her transformation from shy local girl to famous movie actress

▪ revolution noun [countable] a complete change in ways of thinking or working:

The 1970s saw the beginnings of a new technological revolution.


Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity started a revolution in scientific thinking.

▪ shake-up noun [countable] a situation in which a lot of changes are very quickly made in a system or organization in order to make it more effective:

The department has not performed well and is badly in need of a shake-up.


The Administration is planning a thorough shake-up of the welfare system.

▪ U-turn noun [countable] a complete change in the plans of a government or political party so that it decides to do the opposite of what it originally said it would do:

The government was forced to do a U-turn after angry protests about their taxation policy.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.