Meaning of CHANGE in English


I. ˈchānj verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English changen, from Old French changier, from Latin cambiare to exchange, of Celtic origin; akin to Old Irish camm crooked; akin to Greek skambos crooked and probably to Swedish skimpa to hop, Lithuanian kibti to hook on

transitive verb

1. : to make different:

a. : to make different in some particular but short of conversion into something else : alter , modify

on advice of counsel she never bothered to change the will — Alan Hynd

can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots — Jer 13: 23 (Authorized Version)

sorrow has changed him in mental attitude

b. : to make over to a radically different form, composition, state, or disposition : transform , convert

the airplane simply changes the map of a territory as vast and as little built up as the Congo — Tom Marvel

you can't change human nature

he is not moved … he is not changed by his experience — Herbert Read

specifically : to lead (a person) to religious conversion

c. : to dispose of or give up toward the substituting of something roughly equivalent — used with into

she had to change the family jewels into land

change a monarchy into a republic

d. : to give a different position, status, course, or direction to

changing residence from Switzerland to Portugal

the electrolytic refining process that was to change aluminum from a scientific curiosity to a widely used material — American Guide Series: Arkansas

he seldom changes his itinerary

changed our thinking about parole

e. : to shift or transfer in position — used with to

Netta changed her weight from one foot to the other — Stuart Cloete

he was changed from KP to guard duty

f. : to give a contrary character or trend to : reverse

change one's vote

changed his stand

abruptly changing his policy

g. : castrate , spay

our cat has been changed

2. : to substitute another or others in place of (something under consideration) : make substitution for or among:

a. : to replace with another or others of the same kind or class : remove, discard, or withdraw and replace with another

changing the school's name

the movie made of the novel changes the ending

let's change the subject

intended for the law, he changed plans before graduation

frequently changing hands in turning the crank

b. : to switch to another

he changed his seat

official permission to change occupation

the right to hold or change faith

not till you change your attitude

: make a shift from one to another of two

forced to change planes by bad weather

one does not change parties as he changes tailors

weakly changing sides in the argument

c. : to give or receive an equivalent sum in bank notes or coins of other (as smaller) denomination or of a different national currency in return for

change a 20-dollar bill

d. : to undergo a loss or modification of (some property or aspect)

we arrived in time to find the foliage rapidly changing color

when confronted with the photograph the accused changed countenance

e. : to put a fresh covering on to replace that or those in use (as a diaper on a baby, garments on a bed patient, covers on a bed)


a. : to give (something) to another, taking in return something corresponding : give and receive reciprocally : interchange — now used chiefly in colloquial applications

wilt thou change fathers? I will give thee mine — Shakespeare

this chamber change for one more holy — E.A.Poe

I wouldn't change places with him

let's change seats

he and I changed shifts so he could attend his son's graduation

b. : to give up, taking in return something of a different kind : exchange , trade — used with for

'tis a fault I will not change for your best virtues — Shakespeare

for a new name … to change the honors of abandoned Rome — P.B.Shelley

change a uniform for mufti

unwilling to change independence for the comforts of wealth

intransitive verb

1. : to become different in one or more respects without becoming something else:

a. : to lose or to acquire some characteristic, property, or tendency : alter

the changing foliage of autumn

with the threat of war the popular mood changed

racial relations seem to be changing for the better


(1) : to pass from one form, appearance, position, state, or stage to another : shift

the country has survived changing governments

wait till the light changes

changing world conditions

fashions change like the weather

(2) obsolete : to pale or blush

how they change ! Their cheeks are paper — Shakespeare

c. : to increase or decrease

prices change overnight

d. : to adopt different customs, methods, attitudes

people don't like to change — J.P.Blank

specifically : to experience a religious conversion

e. of the moon : to pass from one phase to another ; specifically : to pass through the phase of new moon

f. chiefly dialect : to turn sour : become tainted

g. : to shift one's means of conveyance : transfer

there we changed to a local train

h. of the voice : to shift to lower register : break

i. Britain : to shift gears

2. : to turn into or become something materially different from before:

a. : to undergo transformation or conversion — used with into

but the truth is that after a certain point quantity of money does indeed change into a quality of personality — Lionel Trilling

b. : to pass over from one character or state : undergo transition — used with to

winter changed to spring

the terrain changed gradually from rolling farm land to rugged mining country

the chilly sensations change to discomfort and the acuity of touch sensations and muscular reactions are dulled — H.G.Armstrong

c. : to undergo substantial substitution or replacement or to be wholly replaced

external circumstances may change catastrophically, as during a war — Aldous Huxley

the diet of marine species is generally very varied, and often changes considerably as the animals grow older and larger — W.H.Dowdeswell

how the objects of a war may change completely during its progress — Zechariah Chafee

3. : to disrobe and rearray oneself more suitably especially in clothes suitable for a social or formal occasion

prepared to change for dinner


a. obsolete : to accept something else in return

but might I of Jove's nectar sip I would not change for thine — Ben Jonson

b. obsolete : to give up what one has in exchange — used with for

c. : to engage in giving something and receiving something in return : exchange

I need a lighter ax; I'll change with you


alter , modify , vary : change is wide in use and meaning and may be used in place of any of the others in this set on most occasions. alter may suggest changes only in a single detail or characteristic, without an ensuing loss of identity or new essential character

he looked … with clouded eyes and with an altered manner of breathing — Charles Dickens

Tockwotton House, the grounds of which, somewhat altered with the passing years, now form Tockwotton Park — American Guide Series: Rhode Island

modify may indicate a change away from an extreme or a minor change made in the interest of adapting to a new use, function, or significance

Boner, refusing to modify his politics, found all doors closed to him in his own state — Tremaine McDowell

all of these have their respiratory organs modified to suit their mode of respiration — Joyce Allen

vary stresses a breaking away from sameness, from identity, duplication, exact repetition

this is not a proceeding which may be varied … but is a precise course accurately marked out by law and is to be stricly preserved — John Marshall

tasks may be varied slightly, as when a worker in a cigarette factory is shifted from the job of feeding tobacco into a machine to the job of packing and weighing — Aldous Huxley

- change color

- change ends

- change gears

- change hands

- change one's feet

- change step

- change the leg

II. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English, from Old French, from changier, v. — more at change I

1. : the action of making something different in form, quality, or state : the fact of becoming different : introduction of novelty

change consists in realizing a potentiality that is not real already — W.T.Harris

things and processes are the sort of entities of which change is predicable — Arthur Pap

in other words, change is concomitant variation in time and some other respect — Nelson Goodman

— used often without implication as to bettering or worsening and often with an implication of undirection or haphazardness


a. : an instance of making or becoming different in some particular : a departure from a norm : a deviation from established character, sequence, or condition : a divergence from uniformity or constancy in any quality, quantity, or degree : alteration , modification , variation , mutation

but in the daily routine of their business there was little change — Thomas Hardy

for while there have been several clear and distinct changes in the pattern, the essence of the university tradition has through all the years remained constant — J.B.Conant

quite clearly, there is no change in phenomenal any more than in physical time — Nelson Goodman

b. : a passing from one state to another marked by radically different makeup, character, or operation, whether by sudden mutation or gradually by evolution : transformation , conversion

there is always the danger that people who are impatient when change comes too slowly will attempt violent solutions — P.E.James

the semantics of functional change

since the beginning of the 20th century, however, the time span of social change is shorter than a human life — Maurice Graney

another kind of evidence for the ubiquitousness of change in culture can be drawn from our own everyday experience as well as from nonliterate societies — M.J.Herskovits

c. : a shift in relation to surroundings (as to a different place, situation, course level)

prices are subject to change without notice

d. : a switch to contrasting character or trend : reversal

e. : change of life

f. obsolete : inconstancy

it is the woman's part … ambitions, covetings, change of prides, disdain, nice longing, slanders, mutability … for even to vice they are not constant — Shakespeare

g. : a religious or moral conversion

h. : any step in the manufacture of soap by boiling including drawing off and addition of liquid (as lye or brine)

strong change

salt change

3. : the action of replacing something with something else of the same kind or with something that serves as a substitute : substitution

beware of sudden change in any great point of diet — Francis Bacon

but change of air changes not the mind — John Milton

a. : a replacing of some agent, method, means, material, or other subject of regard with a different one

wore out four changes of horses as he galloped all night — Dorothy C. Fisher

striking for changes in working conditions

b. : a shift from some mode of personal action or disposition or matter of concern to a different one

American expansion into the Pacific and into the Caribbean, however, represented a change in American thinking — Carol L. Thompson


(1) : the passage of the moon from one monthly revolution to another

(2) : the coming of the new moon

(3) : the passage of the moon from one phase to another (as crescent to quarter)

d. : a spare or reserve outfit of clothing or article of wear to replace one in use ; also : the act of making a transfer from one of these to the other

management supplies each worker with three changes a week

time for a quick change before dinner

e. : a succeeding or superseding of some activity, condition, circumstance, or other phenomenon or relationship by a different one

on the occasion of her recent tour it was, for a change , a beautiful summer evening — G.W.Talbot

f. : a transfer from one point to another in time, space, or measure

a change of venue to an adjoining county

sudden changes of temperature

g. : a shift of weight from one foot to the other in dancing


a. obsolete : reciprocal giving and receiving : exchange

b. Britain : something that is due or obtained in return (as by way of retaliation, by way of advantage over another, or by way of desired cooperation or disclosure)

5. Britain : a place where merchants, brokers, bankers meet to transact business — used with a prefixed apostrophe as if an abbreviation of exchange

with sensational press campaigns and stocks and shares on 'change — William Irvine


a. : the equivalent in money of small denominations of a sum of money in higher denominations or the equivalent in money of one currency of a sum in another currency

to get change at a bank to facilitate cash sales

supplying change for a tourist's dollars

b. : money returned to one making a payment consisting of the difference between the amount of money given in payment and the amount due

to receive 11 cents in change

a cashier quick at making change

c. : coins especially of low denominations

jingling a pocketful of change

d. slang : money in hand : dough

7. : any order in which a set of bells is struck in change ringing properly other than that of the diatonic scale but loosely including it

in ringing the changes a bell may shift one place in position or keep its position



(1) : figure 13a

(2) in square dancing : a dancing of the figure around the set

b. : call 14

III. adjective

Etymology: change (I)

archaic : serving or held ready to serve as a substitute

IV. noun

1. : a negligible additional amount

only six minutes and change left in the game

2. : change of pace 2

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.