Is there any difference between switch and swap?

  • Depending on the research you've done, there might be differences in specialist usage. With no research, there's no useful difference. What did your dictionaries, thesauruses or search engines leave unclear, please? – Robbie Goodwin Mar 15 '18 at 20:24

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

  • 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
  • For swap, I think "interchange" is better word than "exchange". See english.stackexchange.com/questions/34545/… – Theta30 Jan 21 '12 at 4:08
  • Whatever else, I think "interchange" has no place here. Either "swap" or "switch" might mean "change" but doesn't "interchange" broadly mean something like "junction" or "cross-over"? – Robbie Goodwin Mar 15 '18 at 20:21

In "ordinary" usage probably not.

In technical use there are differences depending on the field

  • 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

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