General English

  • verb to exchange something for something else


  • verb to stop using one program, put it into store temporarily, run another program, and when that is finished, return to the first one


  • noun an arrangement between central banks to allow each other credit in their respective currencies so as to make currency transactions easier


  • To move a program, parts of a program, or data, from a hard drive to RAM and vice versa. By swapping applications and data in and out of the system's memory as needed, the operating system is able to address more memory than is physically available. Used, for instance, when a program is too large for the memory available to a given computer.
  • To exchange one thing for another, as occurs, for instance, in hot swapping.
  • acronym forShared Wireless Access Protocol
    (written as SWAP)

Information & Library Science

  • verb to exchange information, giving one item and receiving another in its place

Origin & History of “swap”

Swap originally meant ‘hit’ (‘With a swing of his sword (he) swapped him in the face’, Destruction of Troy 1400). It came from a prehistoric Germanic base denoting ‘hit’ (presumably imitative of the sound of hitting), which also produced German schwappen ‘splash, whack’. The modern English sense ‘exchange’ emerged in the 16th century from the notion of ‘striking the hands together to seal a bargain’.