use-icon

HOW TO USE THE DICTIONARY

To look up an entry in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, use the search window above. For best results, after typing in the word, click on the “Search” button instead of using the “enter” key.

Some compound words (like bus rapid transit, dog whistle, or identity theft) don’t appear on the drop-down list when you type them in the search bar. For best results with compound words, place a quotation mark before the compound word in the search window.

guide to the dictionary

use-icon

THE USAGE PANEL

The Usage Panel is a group of nearly 200 prominent scholars, creative writers, journalists, diplomats, and others in occupations requiring mastery of language. Annual surveys have gauged the acceptability of particular usages and grammatical constructions.

The Panelists

puzzle-icon

NEED HELP SOLVING A CROSSWORD PUZZLE?

Go to our Crossword Puzzle Solver and type in the letters that you know, and the Solver will produce a list of possible solutions.

open-icon

AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY APP

The new American Heritage Dictionary app is now available for iOS and Android.

scroll-icon

THE AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY BLOG

The articles in our blog examine new words, revised definitions, interesting images from the fifth edition, discussions of usage, and more.

100-words-icon

See word lists from the best-selling 100 Words Series!

Find out more!

open-icon

INTERESTED IN DICTIONARIES?

Check out the Dictionary Society of North America at http://www.dictionarysociety.com

change (chānj)
Share:
v. changed, chang·ing, chang·es
v. tr.
1.
a. To cause to be different; alter: We decided to change the color of the walls. You can't change the rules in the middle of the game.
b. To give a completely different form or appearance to; transform: The new homeowners changed the yard into a garden.
2. To give and receive reciprocally; interchange: Anne and I changed seats so that she could sit next to the aisle.
3. To exchange for or replace with another, usually of the same kind or category: change one's name; a light that changes colors.
4.
a. To lay aside, abandon, or leave for another; switch: change methods; change sides.
b. To transfer from (one conveyance) to another: In Chicago, we'll have to change planes.
5. To give or receive the equivalent of (money) in lower denominations or in foreign currency: This machine will change dollar bills into coins. At the airport, the traveler changed British pounds into euros.
6. To put fresh clothes or coverings on: It's your turn to change the baby. I'll show you how to change the bed.
v. intr.
1. To become different or undergo alteration: He changed as he matured. The town grew and changed over the years.
2. To undergo transformation or transition: The music changed to a slow waltz.
3. To go from one phase to another, as the moon or the seasons.
4. To make an exchange; switch: If you prefer this seat, I'll change with you.
5. To transfer from one conveyance to another: She changed in Detroit on her way to California.
6. To put on other clothing: We changed for dinner. They changed into work clothes.
7. To become deeper in tone: His voice began to change at age 13.
n.
1. The act, process, or result of altering or modifying: a change in facial expression; a last-minute change in the schedule.
2. The replacing of one thing for another; substitution: a change of atmosphere; a change of ownership.
3. A transformation or transition from one state, condition, or phase to another: the change of seasons.
4. Something different; variety: ate early for a change.
5. A different or fresh set of clothing: I brought along a change of shirts to the overnight party.
6.
a. Money of smaller denomination given or received in exchange for money of higher denomination: Will you give me change of four quarters for a dollar?
b. The balance of money returned when an amount given is more than what is due: I paid $3 for the coffee that cost $2.50, so I received 50 cents in change.
c. Coins: Loose change was jingling in my pocket.
7. Music
a. A pattern or order in which bells are rung.
b. In jazz, a change of harmony; a modulation.
8. A market or exchange where business is transacted.
Phrasal Verb:
change off
1. To alternate with another person in performing a task.
2. To perform two tasks at once by alternating or a single task by alternate means.
Idioms:
change hands
To pass from one owner to another: The store changed hands last summer.
change (one's) mind
To reverse a previously held opinion or an earlier decision.
change (one's) tune
To alter one's approach or attitude.

[Middle English changen, from Norman French chaunger, from Latin cambiāre, cambīre, to exchange, probably of Celtic origin.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

This website is best viewed in Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Safari. Some characters in pronunciations and etymologies cannot be displayed properly in Internet Explorer.