Definition of change in English:

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Pronunciation: /tʃeɪn(d)ʒ/


1Make or become different: [with object]: a proposal to change the law [no object]: a Virginia creeper just beginning to change from green to gold
More example sentences
  • Do you feel that the law should be changed to reinforce the right to self defence?
  • If these people are to be protected, and there are good arguments why they should be, then the law needs to be changed.
  • He believes the law should be changed so that organ donation is automatic unless the person is carrying a card saying they object.
1.1 [no object, with complement] Alter in terms of: the ferns began to change shape
More example sentences
  • Pretty much everything has to change shape.
  • For instance, a banana may change colour from being green to being yellow.
  • After centuries of wondering, men can finally work out if their partner really is 'fine' or not thanks to a new dress that changes colour depending on a woman's mood.
alter, make different, become different, undergo a change, make alterations to, adjust, make adjustments to, adapt, turn, amend, improve, modify, convert, revise, recast, reform, reshape, refashion, redesign, restyle, revamp, rework, remake, remodel, remould, redo, reconstruct, reorganize, reorder, refine, reorient, reorientate, vary, transform, transfigure, transmute, metamorphose, undergo a sea change, evolve;
informal tweak
technical permute
1.2 [no object] (Of traffic lights) move from one colour of signal to another: they stopped at the corner, waiting for the lights to change
More example sentences
  • The light changed and traffic moved my way.
  • Emma went from pale to bright red, looking much like a traffic light changing.
  • He replied only with a nod, and finally that traffic light changed to green.
1.3 [no object] (Of the moon) arrive at a fresh phase; become new: he is going to be worse for the next two or three days because the moon has changed
More example sentences
  • The moon is forever changing, and none knows why it is so mysterious.
  • By this time it was nine days since the moon had changed.
  • Mercifully, the moon has changed, which always gives me the strength to crawl out of my funk and count my blessings.
2 [with object] Take or use another instead of: she decided to change her name
More example sentences
  • I would have loved it if my husband had changed his name to mine, but he was not any more interested in doing that than I was in changing mine to his, so here we are.
  • When Katie went missing, we decided to keep Socks, and changed his name to Jamie.
  • Mr Kohn converted to Catholicism when he changed his name to Kerry in 1902.
2.1Move from one to another: she was a typist who changed jobs incessantly
More example sentences
  • During that intervening period, the couple moved about constantly, changing residences and jobs.
  • Crucially, the account would be portable, moving if workers changed jobs.
  • I broke my leg, my wife had a baby, I've moved house and changed job.
2.2 [no object] Move to a different train, bus, etc. we had to change at Rugby
More example sentences
  • There are dozens of different lines, with passengers changing from one train to another at many stations along the way who do not want to wait too long for their connections.
  • But, how about changing to another Waterloo train at Clapham Junction and getting off at Vauxhall?
  • Travellers changing from train to bus at Southend Victoria rail station could soon have a better idea of when their bus will arrive.
2.3Give up or get rid of (something) in exchange for something else: we changed the flagstones for quarry tiles
More example sentences
  • She quickly changed her tee shirt for a bulky sweatshirt.
  • I changed the cement for polyester cement in several places.
2.4Remove (something dirty or faulty) and replace it with another of the same kind: he scarcely knew how to change a plug
More example sentences
  • She put him on his change table and changed his outrageously dirty diaper with a fresh new one.
  • In terms of child care, having no sense of smell has an up side and a down side. The good thing is that changing dirty nappies is so much less unpleasant.
  • Specialist officers also changed the locks and pulled up the floorboards of the couple's house where Joanne was last seen alive.
2.5Put a clean nappy on (a baby or young child): I changed her on top of the table until she got too big
More example sentences
  • I went into the washroom to clean up, and a lady was there changing her baby.
  • A disposable nappy is a fast solution when you need to change your child in the back of the car.
  • The baby must be changed more frequently with cloth so she stays cleaner and drier.
2.6 [no object] Engage a different gear in a motor vehicle: he changed into second
More example sentences
  • We slide past a row of fencing, Jake changing to second gear in the side of my vision, and the path bends a few metres in.
  • Son changed into a different gear and swooping on the leader right on the line gained a neck victory in 18.03.
  • More schools in Wiltshire are changing into a higher gear on the information superhighway.
2.7Exchange (a sum of money) for the same sum in a different currency or denomination: he popped into a bank to change a ten-pound note into one-pound coins
More example sentences
  • Not knowing what else to do, she went to buy a ticket to Paris, but realised she had to change all of her money.
  • Foreign currency can be changed at banks and cambios, and at many hotels.
  • If you try to change dollars for pesos, people look at you like you're crazy.
2.8 [no object] Put different clothes on: he changed for dinner
More example sentences
  • He changed into his riding clothes and went downstairs to the stables to go for a nice long ride through the country.
  • She also suggests changing into a fresh pair of socks when yours become sweaty.
  • She took a quick shower, drying herself off and changing into a fresh new outfit.


1An act or process through which something becomes different: the change from a nomadic to an agricultural society [mass noun]: activities related to environmental change
More example sentences
  • I think the two things that were important were the peace process and the change in the economy.
  • Staff sickness rates are at record levels in some places and could have been further affected by a change in shift patterns.
  • Even if the same party regains power, the change in leadership can make all the difference.
1.1The substitution of one thing for another: we need a change of government
More example sentences
  • The change of venue was only notified on polling cards, which were issued last week.
  • I work all day, so cannot pick up the email to notify me of the change of venue.
  • People are asked to please take note of the temporary change of venue for the meeting.
1.2An alteration or modification: a change came over Eddie’s face
More example sentences
  • What major changes or modifications have you made to the engine for this new game?
  • These changes will result in alterations at executive level.
  • For a few people the changes have demanded significant alterations in their working lives.
1.3A new or refreshingly different experience: couscous makes an interesting change from rice
More example sentences
  • What a refreshing change it is to experience a service person that does not detest his or her job.
  • It makes an interesting change for this House to be focusing its attention on standards.
  • It's just a bad idea for the neck hair to be black, and it was an interesting change, I liked my wig.
1.4 [in singular] A clean garment or garments as a replacement for something one is wearing: a change of socks
More example sentences
  • There was a carrier bag to his side which held a change of underwear and a shirt and a pair of jeans.
  • After they had bathed and put on a change of clean clothes, there was a knock at the door.
  • Then it occurs to me that I might need a change of underwear after this flight.
1.5 (the change or the change of life) informal The menopause.
Example sentences
  • ‘I asked her why she had not consulted me and she remarked that she had been going through the change,’ said the doctor.
  • In marketing products for postmenopausal women, he had interviews set up with doctors as well as women themselves about the change of life.
  • Stress management in the form of daily deep breathing, yoga or prayer can also work wonders as our bodies gear up for the change of life.
1.6The moon’s arrival at a fresh phase, typically at the new moon.
Example sentences
  • A Welsh man told me he came across for a long weekend because he had checked the atmospherics and moon changes.
2 [mass noun] Coins as opposed to banknotes: a handful of loose change
More example sentences
  • I had more than enough loose change in my coin purse to pay for it so it's not like I was spending real money.
  • All pennies and loose change can be given to pupils at the school or donated at the school itself.
  • And he dug deep into his pocket, rummaged about a bit and then took out a few notes and a handful of loose change.
coins, loose change, small change, cash, petty cash, coinage, coin, coin of the realm, hard cash, silver, copper, coppers, gold
formal specie
2.1Money given in exchange for the same sum in larger units: I’d go to the bank and get change
More example sentences
  • You also have the largest amount of money in coins without being able to make change for a dollar.
  • Two guys, thuglike if you will, stood waiting with a ten dollar in hand requesting change.
  • The looks of horror I elicited from people at the bus stop as I attempted to ask them if they had any change for a two pound coin was striking.
2.2Money returned to someone as the balance of the sum paid for something: I watched him check and pocket his change
More example sentences
  • The chances of finding the Thai Millennium coins in your change are very small.
  • I slid a dollar and a dime into the machine and received a nickel and a penny in change.
  • Consumers should also in turn not accept the old cash as change - unless they want to make a trip to the bank.
3 (usually changes) An order in which a peal of bells can be rung.
Example sentences
  • Bell ringing is good exercise for the body and mind, the bells are heavy and the bell ringers have to remember the changes.
  • Good methods produce pleasing sequences of musical changes.
  • Ringing all 720 changes on six bells takes about 25 minutes.
4 (Change or 'Change) historical A place where merchants met to do business.



change address

Move house or business premises: people are likely to change address in the course of a year
More example sentences
  • A pilot scheme due to be launched next month will automatically inform different Government departments when people move house or change address.
  • The advice to consumers is to leave a forwarding address with the new occupants when you change address and don't pay for the Royal Mail service.
  • Another safeguard, believed to be unique to the city, is that voters who are registered to vote by post are contacted every year by the city to see if the have changed address.

change colour

Blanch or flush: she saw that he had changed colour and she now experienced some of his embarrassment
More example sentences
  • His face changes colour and he is visibly angry.
  • Andrew changed colour and his friend, who was trained in first aid, dragged him off the couch on to the floor checked his airway was clear and started administering resuscitation techniques.
  • As he warmed to his subject his face changed colour from red to purple.

change hands

(Of a business or building) pass to a different owner: the Black Lion pub has changed hands recently
More example sentences
  • May I point out that none of the houses overlooking the cricket pitch has changed hands since the buildings were completed.
  • The woodland has changed hands and the new owner is planning to fence it off, thereby denying me access to my club.
  • Speculation behind the identity of the buyers had been rife following a flurry of deals last week that saw ownership of the building change hands twice in a matter of hours.
3.1(Of money or a marketable commodity) pass to another person in the course of a business transaction: so far, no money has changed hands
More example sentences
  • And a lot of that money changes hands online through credit cards with banks handling those transactions.
  • And many crooks prefer dealing with the big places, where the sheer volume of money changing hands covers their tracks.
  • So if no product or service exists, and only money is changing hands, head for the door.

a change is as good as a rest

proverb A change of work or occupation can be as restorative or refreshing as a period of relaxation.
Example sentences
  • On the basis that a change is as good as a rest, fans of the four finalists are surely refreshed by their revels.
  • A change is as good as a rest, I think the saying goes, and I'm sure it is a valid one.
  • They say a change is as good as a rest and so it is proving as the Wasps followed up their win at Lancashire last week with their best performance of the season to make it two wins from two since Atkins took over as caretaker coach.

change one's mind

Adopt a different opinion or plan: he turned to go and then seemed to change his mind
More example sentences
  • Firstly, I don't change my mind or opinions just because someone else has a different one.
  • Before long, I changed my mind and began making plans to go to North Carolina.
  • However, the manager of that different area changed his mind, so I was in limbo.
think again, think twice, have second thoughts, review one's position, come round, change one's mind;

a change of air

A different climate, typically as a means of improving one’s health.
Example sentences
  • It is a new experience for me and I needed a change of air because in Spain the situation was not any good for me.
  • The firm maintained a 5-bed convalescent home at Scarborough, to which employees in need of a change of air after sickness might be sent.
  • He could recommend a change of air or of diet, administer a concoction of herbs (perhaps made to his own special recipe and charged at a high price), purge the patient, or, in the case of fever or threatened fever, bleed him.

a change of heart

A move to a different opinion or attitude: you can have your money back if you have a change of heart
More example sentences
  • By their very nature, professional expatriates are not given to sudden irrational changes of heart, for in general they will have carefully weighed the pros and cons before accepting the position in the first place.
  • I tend to confuse people with my sudden changes of heart.
  • Over the course of this very long and drawn out debate I have had many changes of heart on my position and in truth I still cant fully decide my stance.
change one's mind, change one's tune, have second thoughts, have a rethink, think again, think differently, think twice
informal get cold feet

change places

Exchange places or roles: under the bishop’s plan, he and I were to change places
More example sentences
  • The series gave six pupils and 10 teachers the chance to change places for a week, filming at a private boarding school in Scotland.
  • A boisterous group keen on having a good time, they kept changing places and pointing out landmarks on the ground below.
  • For a period of about 10 days, each of the participants changed places with another participant, occupying the other's studio, home, country, and world.

change sides

Begin to support a different side in a war or dispute: one of his supporters changed sides
More example sentences
  • He did not simply lose his Christian faith; he changed sides.
  • He had acquired the nickname ' Bobbing John ' from his habit of frequently changing sides.
  • Let's not waste our time trying to get people to change sides.

change step

Alter one’s step so that the opposite leg is the one that marks time when marching.
Example sentences
  • A long-standing critic of the festival, The Gazette had itself astonished readers three years earlier by changing step.
  • As Windows 2000 reaches crunch point the highways and byways of the Web are positively ringing to the crunch of beta-watchers changing step.
  • He did homage to Lady Jane Grey in 1553, but changed step nimbly and retained Mary's favour.

change the subject

Begin talking of something different, to avoid embarrassment or distress.
Example sentences
  • Suddenly realising the potential for embarrassment, Kerry abruptly changed the subject.
  • He seemed to always find a different way of changing the subject, which she found very amusing, but annoying.
  • Briskly changing the subject, she began cajoling me cheerfully again, all mention of her gone.

change one's tune

Express a very different opinion or behave in a very different way: he’d soon change his tune if he thought she’d lost interest
More example sentences
  • Until I see a difference, I'm not changing my tune.
  • He also accuses environmentalists, who were happy last year when the task force report came out, of changing their tune and saying the city needs a new garbage strategy.
  • I surprise myself in saying this, but what is so wrong with a woman changing her tune according to the man in her life?
change one's mind, think differently, express a different view/opinion, sing a different song/tune, shift one's ground, do a U-turn, row back, march to the beat of a different drum, have a change of heart;
British  do an about-turn

for a change

Contrary to how things usually happen or in order to introduce variety: it’s nice to be pampered for a change
More example sentences
  • So the drums are the stars for a change, while the melody provides a haunting backdrop.
  • Not only is she marrying the man of her dreams, but she's also getting the opportunity to wear a dress for a change.
  • If I had a reason today it was simply an urge to snap the computer off and get out and do sensible everyday things for a change.

get no change out of

British informal Fail to get information or a desired reaction from: I doubt if you’ll get much change out of Koogan
More example sentences
  • Coleman said he did not think the sending off of Peter Canavan had a bearing on the outcome: ‘Before he was sent off he had got no change out of Sean Martin Lockhart so I don't think the sending off was a feature of the game.’
  • Then full-forward Anthony Nolan, who up to that point had got no change out of Noel Murphy, sent over a great equaliser.
  • David Cuddy was having a battle royal with Christy O'Toole at midfield but switched places with centre forward John O'Sullivan who was getting no change out of Jeffrey Bermingham.

ring the changes

Vary the ways of expressing or doing something.
With allusion to bell-ringing and the different orders in which a peal of bells may be rung
Example sentences
  • But while the traditional white uniforms still feature, and combatants still salute each other before a match, technology is ringing the changes.
  • Inevitably, the transformation of Ireland and the EU is ringing the changes of a society that is refusing to stand still.
  • An estate agency is ringing the changes by offering a round-the-clock way for potential buyers to get instant details of properties on the market.

Phrasal verbs


change down

British Engage a lower gear in a vehicle or on a bicycle: it is important to change down in plenty of time to avoid having to brake sharply
More example sentences
  • As you approach a junction in a car with a manual gearbox, you change down through the gears, which means that the engine creates drag and slows the car down.
  • It changes down beautifully, but upshifts are either slow or jerky or full of clutch-slip.
  • Gently increase acceleration and be prepared to change down through the gears to preserve momentum.

change over

1Move from one system or situation to another: arable farmers have to change over to dairy farming
More example sentences
  • Some left-handed people when pressurised to change over to the right hand also tend to develop a stutter or stammer.
  • Finally everything was ready, so he gave the command for the controller to change over to the newest version of the code.
  • If we change over to the thumbnail view, then it has a max size of 100 px on a side which is about right for us in terms of limiting size.
2Swap roles or duties: we were allowed to split the night duty between us, changing over at 2 a.m.
More example sentences
  • At present, planes use one runway for landings and one for take-offs, changing over at 3pm in order to give people living under the flight-path some relief from the noise.
  • I rested first and we changed over at midnight.
  • After a couple of hours or so, taking our hourly turns at the steering-wheel, the pangs of hunger proved powerful so, when we changed over at 1600, we looked for sustenance in the truck and found a tin of Pineapple Chunks.

change up

British Engage a higher gear in a vehicle or on a bicycle: what you notice with a diesel is the need to change up slightly earlier than in a petrol car
More example sentences
  • It certainly powers nicely through third and fourth gears before changing up to cruise in fifth, but the benefits of all-wheel drive don't really extend to the petrol pumps.
  • Responsive and smooth, what really makes it shine is the logic behind the semi-auto gearstick: forward to change down; backward to change up.
  • Having merged the acts of engaging the clutch and slotting the gear home, this car can change up or down in 100 milliseconds.



Pronunciation: /ˈtʃeɪndʒfʊl/
Example sentences
  • That must be some kind of victory for a man nearing sixty, so long tossed around uncertainly on changeful seas.
  • It is very changeful, offering opportunities for many variations in dwelling and plan type within the same block.
  • We find from Mrs. Fairfax that Mr. Rochester is often changeful and abrupt because of his nature, and also because of family troubles which absorb him painfully.


Middle English: from Old French change (noun), changer (verb), from late Latin cambiare, from Latin cambire 'barter', probably of Celtic origin.

  • Change comes via Old French from Latin cambire, ‘to exchange or barter’, found also in exchange (Late Middle English). The ultimate origin could be Celtic, which would mean that the Romans picked up the word when they invaded the lands of the ancient Gauls and Britons. See also chop, ring

Words that rhyme with change

arrange, counterchange, estrange, exchange, grange, interchange, Lagrange, mange, part-exchange, range, short-change, strange

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: change

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