[ cheynj ]
See synonyms for: changechangedchangeschanging on

verb (used with object),changed, chang·ing.
  1. to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone: to change one's name;to change one's opinion;to change the course of history.

  2. to transform or convert (usually followed by into): The witch changed the prince into a toad.

  1. to substitute another or others for; exchange for something else, usually of the same kind: She changed her shoes when she got home from the office.

  2. to give and take reciprocally; interchange: to change places with someone.

  3. to transfer from one (conveyance) to another: You'll have to change planes in Chicago.

  4. to give or get an equivalent amount of money in lower denominations in exchange for: to change a five-dollar bill.

  5. to give or get foreign money in exchange for: to change dollars into euros.

  6. to remove and replace the covering or coverings of: to change a bed.

  7. to remove a dirty diaper from (a baby) and replace it with a clean one: new parents, learning to change a baby.

verb (used without object),changed, chang·ing.
  1. to become different: Overnight the nation's mood changed.

  2. to become altered or modified: Colors change if they are exposed to the sun.

  1. to become transformed or converted (usually followed by into): The toad changed back into a prince.

  2. to pass gradually into (usually followed by to or into): Summer changed to autumn.

  3. to switch or to make an exchange: If you want to sit next to the window, I'll change with you.

  4. to transfer between trains or other conveyances: We can take the local and change to an express at the next stop.

  5. to remove one's clothes and put on different clothes: She changed into jeans.

  6. (of the moon) to pass from one phase to another.

  7. (of the voice) to become deeper in tone; come to have a lower register: The boy's voice began to change when he was thirteen.

  1. the act or fact of changing; fact of being changed: They are pleased by the change in their son's behavior.

  2. a transformation or modification; alteration: They noticed the change in his facial expression.

  1. a variation or deviation: a change in the daily routine.

  2. the substitution of one thing for another: We finally made the change to an oil-burning furnace.

  3. variety or novelty: Let's try a new restaurant for a change.

  4. the passing from one place, state, form, or phase to another: a change of seasons;social change.

  5. Jazz. harmonic progression from one tonality to another; modulation.

  6. the supplanting of one thing by another: We need a total change of leadership.

  7. anything that is or may be substituted for another.

  8. a fresh set of clothing.

  9. money given in exchange for an equivalent of higher denomination.

  10. a balance of money that is returned when the sum tendered in payment is larger than the sum due.

  11. coins of low denomination.

  12. any of the various sequences in which a peal of bells may be rung.

  13. Also 'change .British. exchange (def. 10).

  14. Obsolete. changefulness; caprice.

Verb Phrases
  1. change off,

    • to take turns with another, as at doing a task.

    • to alternate between two tasks or between a task and a rest break.

Idioms about change

  1. change front, Military. to shift a military force in another direction.

  2. change hands. hand (def. 48).

  1. change one's mind, to change one's opinions or intentions.

  2. ring the changes,

    • to perform all permutations possible in ringing a set of tuned bells, as in a bell tower of a church.

    • to vary the manner of performing an action or of discussing a subject; repeat with variations.

Origin of change

First recorded in 1175–1225; Middle English verb cha(u)ngen, from Anglo-French, Old French changer, from Late Latin cambiāre, Latin cambīre “to exchange, barter”; Middle English noun cha(u)nge, from Anglo-French, Old French, noun derivative of the verb; of Celtic origin

word story For change

The English noun and verb change are both recorded at just about the same time (between 1200 and 1225), but the meanings of the noun follow those of the verb. The Middle English verb change, chaungen, chaungie, changen, chaingen (and other spelling variants) “to be altered, alter (a purpose, attitude, or opinion), transform or be transformed; substitute, exchange” come from Anglo-French chaunger, changir and Old French changier, with the same meanings. The French verb comes from Latin cambiāre “to exchange,” from earlier cambīre “to exchange, barter,” both of Celtic (Gaulish) origin.
The French development from cambiāre to changier is regular; other Romance languages have developed in differing ways: Spanish and Portuguese cambiar keep cambiāre more or less intact; Catalan has canviar; Sardinian has cambiare; Old Provençal has both cambiar and camjar; Old Italian (late 12th century) has cambiare, but modern Italian only cangiare.
The Middle English verb was used to refer to the exchange of money, coins, or currency, but the corresponding noun meanings did not appear until the mid-16th century; the specific usage “the balance of money returned to a buyer” is first recorded in 1665.

Other words for change

Opposites for change

Other words from change

  • chang·ed·ness [cheyn-jid-nis, cheynjd-], /ˈtʃeɪn dʒɪd nɪs, ˈtʃeɪndʒd-/, noun
  • un·changed, adjective
  • un·chang·ing, adjective
  • un·chang·ing·ly, adverb
  • un·chang·ing·ness, noun

Words Nearby change Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use change in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for change


/ (tʃeɪndʒ) /

  1. to make or become different; alter

  2. (tr) to replace with or exchange for another: to change one's name

  1. (sometimes foll by to or into) to transform or convert or be transformed or converted

  2. to give and receive (something) in return; interchange: to change places with someone

  3. (tr) to give or receive (money) in exchange for the equivalent sum in a smaller denomination or different currency

  4. (tr) to remove or replace the coverings of: to change a baby

  5. (when intr, may be foll by into or out of) to put on other clothes

  6. (intr) (of the moon) to pass from one phase to the following one

  7. to operate (the gear lever of a motor vehicle) in order to alter the gear ratio: to change gear

  8. to alight from (one bus, train, etc) and board another

  9. change face to rotate the telescope of a surveying instrument through 180° horizontally and vertically, taking a second sighting of the same object in order to reduce error

  10. change feet informal to put on different shoes, boots, etc

  11. change front

    • military to redeploy (a force in the field) so that its main weight of weapons points in another direction

    • to alter one's attitude, opinion, etc

  12. change hands to pass from one owner to another

  13. change one's mind to alter one's decision or opinion

  14. change one's tune to alter one's attitude or tone of speech

  1. the act or fact of changing or being changed

  2. a variation, deviation, or modification

  1. the substitution of one thing for another; exchange

  2. anything that is or may be substituted for something else

  3. variety or novelty (esp in the phrase for a change): I want to go to France for a change

  4. a different or fresh set, esp of clothes

  5. money given or received in return for its equivalent in a larger denomination or in a different currency

  6. the balance of money given or received when the amount tendered is larger than the amount due

  7. coins of a small denomination regarded collectively

  8. (often capital) archaic a place where merchants meet to transact business; an exchange

  9. the act of passing from one state or phase to another

  10. the transition from one phase of the moon to the next

  11. the order in which a peal of bells may be rung

  12. sport short for changeover (def. 3b)

  13. slang desirable or useful information

  14. obsolete fickleness or caprice

  15. change of heart a profound change of outlook, opinion, etc

  16. get no change out of someone slang not to be successful in attempts to exploit or extract information from someone

  17. ring the changes to vary the manner or performance of an action that is often repeated

Origin of change

C13: from Old French changier, from Latin cambīre to exchange, barter

Derived forms of change

  • changeless, adjective
  • changelessly, adverb
  • changelessness, noun
  • changer, noun

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Other Idioms and Phrases with change


In addition to the idioms beginning with change

  • change hands
  • change horses in midstream, don't
  • change off
  • change of heart
  • change of life
  • change of pace
  • change one's mind
  • change one's stripes
  • change one's tune
  • change the subject

also see:

  • for a change
  • leopard cannot change its spots
  • piece of change
  • ring the changes

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.