Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Is there any difference between switch and swap?

share|improve this question
add comment

2 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Swap means "exchange", while switch means "change".

When you swap something, you replace something with something else:

house swap, wife swap

When you switch something, you move from something to something else:

Switch language, switch flight

share|improve this answer
    
Swap (to me) implies replacing some physical object with another. Switch means changes from some property, location, or attribute to another. –  Malvolio Apr 27 '11 at 20:27
2  
Also, swapping usually implies exactly two entities having a role in the play. –  Roberto Aloi Apr 27 '11 at 20:29
    
+1 wife swap... –  lukas Apr 27 '11 at 23:38
    
For swap, I think "interchange" is better word than "exchange". See english.stackexchange.com/questions/34545/… –  Theta30 Jan 21 '12 at 4:08
add comment

In "ordinary" usage probably not.

In technical use there are differences depending on the field

share|improve this answer
    
For instance, <code>switch</code> is a construct in some programming languages, and "swapping" in programming is swapping the values of two variables. –  compman Apr 27 '11 at 20:00
    
Thank you very much ! –  Florian Apr 27 '11 at 20:06
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.