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Alternative forms[edit]


  • IPA(key): /swɒp/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɒp

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English swappen (to swap), originally meaning "to hurl" or "to strike", the word alludes to striking hands together when making an exchange; probably from Old English *swappian, a secondary form of Old English swāpan (to swoop). Cognate with German schwappen (to slosh, slop). Compare also Middle English swippen (to strike, hit), from Old English swipian (to scourge, strike, beat, lash), Old Norse svipa (to swoop, flash, whip, look after, look around). More at swipe.


swap (third-person singular simple present swaps, present participle swapping, simple past and past participle swapped)

  1. (transitive) To exchange or give (something) in an exchange (for something else).
    Synonyms: exchange, switch, trade
    • 1998, Michael Wolf; Bruce Friedman, Daniel Sutherland, Religion in the workplace, page 98:
      In an effort to provide more permanent accommodations, employers may offer employees the opportunity either to swap jobs with a colleague or to transfer to a new position.
    • 2007, Lloyd Zimpel, A Season of Fire and Ice:
      Chief watched these goings-on without pleasure, and waved them off in disgust when the smarmiest of the two suggested he might wish to swap that elk's tooth for this jug of fine rye whiskey.
    • 2011, Andrew Scott Cooper, The Oil Kings: How the U.S., Iran, and Saudi Arabia Changed the Balance of Power in the Middle East, page 253:
      The Shah wanted to swap oil for more arms.
  2. (transitive, obsolete) To hit, to strike.
    • 1954, Edward Eager, Half Magic:
      And he whipped his sword out of its scabbard, and swapped off the pudding from the black knight's nose. Unfortunately (for him) he swapped off a good bit of the nose, too.
    • 1954, C. S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy
      "Maybe Apes will grow honest, Sister," said Edmund. "But, by the Lion, if he breaks it again, it may be in such time and place that any of us could swap off his head in clean battle."
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To beat the air, or ply the wings, with a sweeping motion or noise; to flap.
  4. (intransitive, obsolete) To descend or fall; to rush hastily or violently.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

[1620] From the verb swap.


swap (plural swaps)

Alice has a red apple and Bob has a green apple. After a swap, Alice has the green apple and Bob has the red apple.
  1. An exchange of two comparable things.
    • 1819, Sir Walter Scott, Tales of My Landlord, The Bride of Lammermoor:
      I e’en changed it, as occasion served, with the skippers o’ Dutch luggers and French vessels, for gin and brandy [] a gude swap too, between what cheereth the soul of man and that which dingeth it clean out of his body
  2. (finance) A financial derivative in which two parties agree to exchange one stream of cashflow against another stream.
  3. (computing, informal, uncountable) Space available in a swap file for use as auxiliary memory.
    How much swap do you need?
  4. (Cambridge University slang) A social meal at a restaurant between two university societies, usually involving drinking and banter; commonly associated with fining and pennying; equivalent to a crewdate at Oxford University.
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

From Middle English swap, swappe (a blow, strike, lash from a whip), from the verb (see Etymology 1 above).


swap (countable and uncountable, plural swaps)

  1. (obsolete, UK, dialect) A blow; a stroke.





From English swap.


  • IPA(key): /ˈsʋɑp/, [ˈs̠ʋɑp]
  • IPA(key): /ˈsʋæp/, [ˈs̠ʋæp]



  1. (finance, slang) swap (financial derivative)
  2. (computing, slang) swap (auxiliary memory)


Inflection of swap (Kotus type 5/risti, no gradation)
nominative swap swapit
genitive swapin swapien
partitive swapia swapeja
illative swapiin swapeihin
singular plural
nominative swap swapit
accusative nom. swap swapit
gen. swapin
genitive swapin swapien
partitive swapia swapeja
inessive swapissa swapeissa
elative swapista swapeista
illative swapiin swapeihin
adessive swapilla swapeilla
ablative swapilta swapeilta
allative swapille swapeille
essive swapina swapeina
translative swapiksi swapeiksi
instructive swapein
abessive swapitta swapeitta
comitative swapeineen
Possessive forms of swap (type risti)
possessor singular plural
1st person swapini swapimme
2nd person swapisi swapinne
3rd person swapinsa


Derived terms[edit]