Meaning of EXCHANGE in English

I. ex ‧ change 1 S2 W1 /ɪksˈtʃeɪndʒ/ BrE AmE noun

1 . GIVING/RECEIVING [uncountable and countable] the act of giving someone something and receiving something else from them

exchange of

an exchange of political prisoners

in exchange for something

I’ve offered to paint the kitchen in exchange for a week’s accommodation.

Four of my cassettes for your Madonna CD is a fair exchange.

⇨ ↑ part exchange

2 . ARGUMENT/DISCUSSION [countable] a short conversation, usually between two people who are angry with each other:

a quiet exchange between the judge and the clerk

The DJ was fired after a heated exchange (=a very angry conversation) on air with a call-in listener.

3 . exchange of ideas/information etc when people discuss or share ideas, information etc:

The organization is dedicated to the free exchange of information.

4 . SOMETHING YOU BUY [countable] the act of giving something you have bought back to the store where you bought it, for example because it does not work, fit etc, and taking something else instead:

The store’s policy is not to allow returns or exchanges.

5 . MONEY [uncountable] a process in which you change money from one ↑ currency to another:

Most capital cities have extensive exchange facilities.

6 . STUDENTS/TEACHERS [countable] an arrangement in which a student, teacher etc visits another school or university to work or study

on an exchange (with somebody)

I’m here for one term, on an exchange with Dr. Fisher.

7 . JOBS/HOMES ETC [countable] an arrangement in which you stay in someone’s home, do someone’s job etc for a short time while that person stays in your home, does your job etc:

Kate’s in New York on an employee exchange so she can get some more training.

8 . FIGHT [countable] an event during a war or fight when two people, armies etc shoot or fire ↑ missile s at each other

exchange of fire/gunfire

9 . BUILDING corn/wool/cotton etc exchange a large building in a town that was used in the past for buying and selling corn, wool etc ⇨ ↑ labour exchange , ↑ stock exchange

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COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)

■ adjectives

▪ a brief exchange (=a short conversation)

There followed a brief exchange between Mitti and Helga in German.

▪ an angry exchange

His angry exchange with the referee earned him a yellow card.

▪ a heated exchange (=a very angry conversation)

I overheard a heated exchange between John and his wife.

▪ an acrimonious exchange formal (=in which people show their anger and criticize each other)

The newspaper article led to a series of acrimonious exchanges between leading scientists.

▪ a sharp exchange (=one that shows someone disapproves of something or is annoyed)

The proposed bill provoked some sharp exchanges in the House of Commons.

▪ a bitter exchange (=one in which people criticize each other with strong feelings of hate and anger)

There were bitter exchanges between them outside the court room.

▪ a verbal exchange (=spoken rather than written)

The two boxers recently became involved in a heated verbal exchange.

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COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 5)

■ ADJECTIVES/NOUN + exchange

▪ currency exchange

We have seen wide fluctuations in rates of currency exchange this year.

▪ foreign exchange (=money in the currency of a foreign country, that a country gets by selling goods abroad)

Timber is a vital source of foreign exchange earnings for the country.

■ exchange + NOUN

▪ the exchange rate

What's the current exchange rate between the dollar and the euro?

▪ an exchange market (=a financial market where different currencies are bought and sold)

The pound rose against the dollar on the world foreign currency exchange markets.

▪ exchange controls (=limits on the amount of a currency people are allowed to exchange)

The government is going to impose stricter exchange controls.

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COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 6)

■ ADJECTIVES/NOUN + exchange

▪ a student exchange

Our college arranged student exchanges with four colleges in France.

▪ a staff exchange

The staff exchange programme allows the company to share personnel with partner institutions abroad.

▪ a cultural/scientific/academic exchange

The mayors of Tokyo and New York signed an agreement to encourage cultural exchanges between the cities.

II. exchange 2 BrE AmE verb [transitive]

1 .

a) to give someone something and receive the same kind of thing from them at the same time:

We exchange gifts at Christmas.

At the end of the game, players traditionally exchange shirts with each other.

We exchanged phone numbers.

b) to give someone something and receive something different from them SYN change

exchange something for something

Where can I exchange my dollars for pounds?


In everyday British English, people usually say swap or, in everyday American English, trade , rather than exchange :

Do you want to swap (BrE)/trade (AmE) seats with me?

2 . to replace one thing with another SYN swap

exchange something for something

He exchanged the black jacket for a blue one.

3 . exchange words/looks etc (with somebody) if two people exchange words, looks etc, they talk to each other, look at each other etc:

Until this evening I had never so much as exchanged a word with him.

The two women exchanged glances and laughed.

I went over and exchanged greetings with everyone.

4 . exchange blows (with somebody) if two people exchange blows, they hit each other

5 . exchange information/ideas etc to discuss something or share information, ideas etc:

It’s a place where people can chat and exchange ideas.

6 . exchange contracts especially British English to complete the final stage of buying a house by signing a contract with the person you are buying it from

—exchangeable adjective

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▪ exchange to give something to someone, and receive a similar thing from them at the same time. Exchange is often used about people telling each other about their ideas, phone numbers, addresses etc:

They exchanged photographs before they met.


a place where people can exchange ideas


We exchanged email addresses.


if you are unhappy with the jacket, you can always take it back and exchange it for another one.


These coupons can be exchanged for meals and accommodation.

▪ change to exchange something, especially money. Also used in British English about exchanging something you have bought for something different:

I need to change some dollars.


She changed all her money into euros.


We thought it was time we changed our car for something more modern.

▪ swap ( also do a swap British English ) informal to give something to someone, who gives you something similar:

The two schools use the Internet to swap pictures, stories, and jokes.


I like your room better – do you want to do a swap?

▪ trade ( also do a trade American English ) to exchange something that you have for something that someone else has:

The stolen phones are being traded for drugs.


The boys trade sports cards on the playground.


We've got lots of plants we don't need – do you want to do a trade?

▪ switch to change the places of two or more people or things, so that each one is in the place the other was before:

Can I switch seats with you?

▪ reciprocate to do or give something, because someone has done or given something similar to you – a rather formal use:

They invited us to dinner a while ago, and I'd like to reciprocate.

▪ in exchange/return (for something) if you give something in exchange or in return for something else, you give it in order to get something else back:

Williams will plead guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence.

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