Meaning of “change” in the English Dictionary

"change" in British English

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uk /tʃeɪndʒ/ us /tʃeɪndʒ/

change verb (BECOME DIFFERENT)

A1 [ T ] to exchange one thing for another thing, especially of a similar type:

She's just changed jobs.
Let's change the subject (= talk about something different).

A2 [ I or T ] to make or become different:

I almost didn't recognize her - she'd changed so much.
That was 20 years ago and things have changed since then.
Nothing changes, does it - I've been away two years and the office still looks exactly the same.
People have changed their diets a lot over the past few years.
I'm going to change my hairstyle.

B1 [ I or T ] UK US exchange to take something you have bought back to a shop and exchange it for something else:

I had to change those trousers I bought for (= take them back to the shop in order to get) a bigger pair.
change your mind

B1 to form a new opinion or make a new decision about something that is different from your old one:

If you change your mind about coming tonight, just give me a call.
When I first met him I didn't like him but I've changed my mind.
change for the better

to improve:

Her attitude has definitely changed for the better since she started this new job.
change your ways

to improve the bad parts of your behaviour:

If he wants to carry on living here, he's going to have to change his ways and learn to be a bit less messy.

More examples

  • He said that he hadn't seen the traffic light change to red.
  • They all tried to persuade him to change his decision.
  • We don't expect the economic situation to change anytime soon.
  • It sounds to me like you ought to change jobs.
  • The weather in the hills can change very quickly, so take suitable clothing.

change verb (TRANSPORT)

A2 [ I or T ] to get off a train, bus, etc. and catch another in order to continue a journey:

I had to change (trains) twice to get there.
Change at Peterborough for York.

More examples

  • This train will terminate at the next stop - passengers who wish to continue should change trains.
  • You should stay on the train until Manchester and then change.
  • The only thing I'm worried about is changing trains at Kings Cross.
  • You'll have to change buses when you get into Victoria, but your next bus doesn't leave for half an hour.
  • It's an awkward trip - you have to change several times.

change verb (MONEY)

A2 [ T ] to get or give money in exchange for money, either because you want it in smaller units, or because you want the same value in foreign money:

Could you change a £10 note (for two fives), please?
Could you change a £5 note for me?
I need to change my dollars for/into English money.

More examples

  • Can you change a tenner for two fivers?
  • You can't pay in English money. You'll have to change some money at the bank.
  • I need to change some of these travellers cheques.
  • Will they change money at the hotel?
  • He kindly changed my foreign currency for me.

change verb (CLOTHES/BEDS)

A2 [ I or T ] to remove one set of clothes and put a different set on yourself or a young child, especially a baby, or to remove dirty sheets from a bed and put clean ones on it:

You don't need to change - you look great as you are.
I'll just change into (= get dressed in) something a bit smarter.
Give me five minutes to change out of (= remove) my work clothes and I'll come out with you.
How often do you think he changes his shirt?
Could you change the baby (= the baby's nappy)?
I've changed the sheets/the bed (= the sheets on the bed) in the guest room.

More examples

  • You are going to change, aren't you? You can't go in those tatty old jeans.
  • When did you last change the linen on the children's beds?
  • I hadn't even changed when our first guests arrived, so Jeff had to cope on his own.
  • I usually insist that he changes out of his work clothes before dinner.
  • Can you make sure your brother doesn't walk in when I'm changing?


uk /tʃeɪndʒ/ us /tʃeɪndʒ/


A2 [ C or U ] the act of becoming different, or the result of something becoming different:

Let me know if there's any change in the situation.
We're living in a time of great change.
We need a change of government.
a change in lifestyle
They've made a lot of changes to the house.
The new management will make fundamental/radical/sweeping changes (= do things in a very different way).

B1 [ S ] something that is pleasant or interesting because it is unusual or new:

It's nice to see her smile for a change.
"Shall we we eat in the garden?" "Why not - it'll make a change."
We've always had a red car - it's time we had a change!
change of scene

a new situation:

She'd been with the same company for too many years and felt she needed a change of scene, so she applied for a job as a stage manager.

More examples

  • The minister has announced that there will be no change in government policy.
  • The holiday was a welcome change.
  • A lot of people were caught out by the sudden change in the weather.
  • You're not planning a change of career, are you?
  • The country is crying out for a change in leadership.

change noun (MONEY)

A2 [ U ] money in the form of coins rather than notes:

She gave me €5 in change.
My dad always used to carry a lot of loose/small change (= coins) in his pocket.

[ U ] smaller units of money given in exchange for larger units of the same amount:

Do you have change for a 20-dollar bill?

A2 [ U ] the money that is returned to someone who has paid for something that costs less than the amount that they gave:

I think you've given me the wrong change.

More examples

  • Here's your change, darling.
  • She delved into her pocket to find some change.
  • He fumbled in his pockets for some change.
  • He carefully pocketed his change.
  • "Have you got any change?" "Sorry, I've only got a five-pound note.

change noun (CLOTHES)

[ C ] the action of putting on different clothes:

She did a quick change before going on TV.
a change of clothes

A2 a set of clothes as well as the ones that you are wearing:

You'll need a change of clothes if you're staying overnight.

(Definition of “change” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"change" in American English

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us /tʃeɪndʒ/

change verb (BECOME DIFFERENT)

[ I/T ] to make or become different, or to do, use, or get one thing in place of another thing:

[ T ] I’ve changed jobs twice in the past ten years.
[ T ] I changed my hairstyle – do you like it?
[ I ] Attitudes about lots of things changed during the 1960s.
[ I ] It’s surprising how fast kids change during their teen years.

[ I/T ] To change over from one thing to something else is to stop doing or using one thing and to start doing or using another:

[ I ] We just changed from oil heat to gas.

change verb (CLOTHES/BEDS)

[ I/T ] to remove one set of clothes and put a different set on yourself or someone else, such as a baby, or to remove dirty sheets from a bed and put clean ones on it:

[ I ] I’ll just change into (= put on) something a little dressier.
[ T ] Could you change the baby/the baby’s diaper (= put on a clean one)?
[ T ] I changed the sheets/the bed (= the sheets on the bed) in the guest room.

change verb (MONEY)

[ T ] to get or give money in exchange for money, either because you want it in smaller units, or because you want the same value in foreign money:

Can you change a $100 bill for me?
I had to change some American money into pesetas before I arrived in Spain.

change verb (TRANSPORT)

[ I/T ] to get off an aircraft, train, bus, etc. and catch another in order to continue a trip:

[ T ] I had to change planes twice to get there.
[ I ] Change at Hartford for the train to Springfield.


us /tʃeɪndʒ/


a change

A change often refers to something unusual or new that is better or more pleasant than what existed before:

We decided we needed a change, so we went to Florida for a couple of weeks.
Why don’t we eat on the porch for a change?

change noun (MONEY)

[ U ] the difference in money, returned to the buyer, between what is paid for something and the lesser amount that it costs:

It costs $17 and you gave me $20, so here’s your $3 change.

[ U ] Change also refers to smaller units of money whose total value is equal to that of a larger unit:

I need change for a $50 bill because I want to take a taxi.
Do you have change for/of a dollar?

[ U ] Change can refer to coins rather than bills:

Bring a lot of change for using the public telephones.

change noun (CLOTHES/BEDS)

[ C ] a set of clothes that is additional to the clothes that you are wearing:

Bring a change of clothes with you in case we stay overnight.

(Definition of “change” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"change" in Business English

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uk /tʃeɪndʒ/ us

[ I or T ] to become or make something different, or to exchange something for something else:

The company has changed considerably since I joined in 2005.
She decided that it was time to change jobs.

[ T ] MONEY to exchange an amount of money for the same value in another currency:

If you're unable to change money before you travel, most international airports will have a bureau de change.
change sth into sth Here you'll find the best exchange rate for changing your US dollars into euros.

[ T ] MONEY to exchange a unit of money for coins or smaller units of paper money that add up to the same value:

Could you change this twenty dollar bill for a ten and two fives?
Many superstores have change machines where you can change your coins into banknotes.

[ T ] UK COMMERCE to return something you bought to a store and exchange it for something new, for example because it was damaged or the wrong size. A store changes an item when it agrees to give a customer a new item in exchange for one that is damaged, etc.:

Some places won't let you change items without a receipt.
The store offered to change the faulty items or refund my money.
change hands

to pass from one owner to another:

More than 30 million shares changed hands in the first hour of business.


uk /tʃeɪndʒ/ us

[ C or U ] the process or result of making something different or becoming different:

change to sth After making changes to its business model, the company's net profits increased by 22%.
change in sth Owing to a change in policy, customers will now be charged a fee for early withdrawals.
implement/make a change The new head of department is certain to make some changes.
manage change One of the hardest aspects of being a top manager is managing change.
a fundamental/major/significant change
Please notify us of any change of address.

[ U ] MONEY coins used as money:

Do you have any change for the parking meter?

[ U ] MONEY smaller units of money or coins given in exchange for a larger unit of money that is worth the same amount:

Can you make change for a 100 dollar bill?

[ U ] MONEY the money that is returned to you after you have paid for something that costs less than the amount you gave:

I think the waiter gave me the wrong change.

(Definition of “change” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)