Open main menu



Alternative formsEdit


  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɒp

Etymology 1Edit

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 swap). 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.
    • 1485 July 31, Thomas Malory, “Capitulum xvij”, in [Le Morte Darthur], book VI, [London]: [] [by William Caxton], OCLC 71490786, leaf 105, verso; republished as H[einrich] Oskar Sommer, editor, Le Morte Darthur [], London: Published by David Nutt, [], 1889, OCLC 890162034, page 210:
      And ſoo ſir launcelot rode on the one ſyde and ſhe on the other / he had not ryden but a whyle / but the knyghte badde ſir Launcelot torne hym and loke behynde hym / and ſayde ſyre yonder come men of armes after vs rydynge / And ſoo ſir launcelot torned hym and thoughte no treaſon / and there wyth was the knyghte and the lady on one ſyde / & ſodenly he ſwapped of his ladyes hede []
    • 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.
  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.
    • 1883 [a. 1400], Geoffrey Chaucer, “The Clerk's Tale”, in Henry Morley, editor, Cassell's Library of English Literature[1], volume 1, page 48:
      And in that same stound / All suddenly she swapt adown to ground.

Etymology 2Edit

[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?
Derived termsEdit
Related termsEdit

Etymology 3Edit

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, Britain, dialectal) A blow; a stroke.





From English swap.



  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


Derived termsEdit