Swap or Swop – Do They Mean the Same? (UK/US/Australia)

The terms “swap” and “swop” appear to be very consistent in meaning, as their spelling is incredibly similar. However, many people are unaware of whether or not “swap” is the correct term and whether “swop” is thought of as being an acceptable variant.

Swap Or Swop – Do They Mean the Same?

The term “swap” means to make an exchange, giving something in a trade to receive something else, or switching something for another. “Swop” is also a word, sharing the same meaning, however, the use of this term is generally only seen and used by UK residents.

Swap or Swop

These two terms can technically be used interchangeably, however, the correctness associated with the term will be dependent on where the user is located in the world. Some folks, like North Americans, will prefer the spelling of “swap” in writing. While other folks, like Europeans, will often prefer the spelling of “swop” in writing.

At the same time, regardless of the fact that “swop” is thought of as an acceptable variant, many educators will caution against the use of it, as the spelling “swap” is considered far more commonly used. The term “swop” can often be viewed as a spelling error.

Example Sentences

We will now go over the following examples, which will highlight how we can correctly use both of these terms in a sentence:


  1. I’ve finished my book, may I swap it for yours now?
  2. Would you like to swap some of our Pokémon cards?
  3. Would you like to swap umbrellas considering mine is larger?
  4. We had a seat swap in class today and everyone was much happier.
  5. Can we swap spaces, as I am unable to see the screen from here?


  1. I will swop my bicycle for your rollerblades.
  2. Would you prefer to swop seats on the plane?
  3. Never attempt to swop horses while crossing the stream.
  4. I would prefer to swop positions with John.
  5. We are going to have a teacher swop with our classes today.

Swap Or Swop In The UK?

Within the United Kingdom, the term “swop” is generally considered an acceptable variant of the term “swap”. It has been reported that the term “swop” is considered to be mainly used in Britain, but both should be considered correct, regardless of where one resides within the United Kingdom.

Despite the term “swop” being an acceptable variant, many folks will still prefer the spelling of “swap”, which should be considered to be perfectly fine.

Swap Or Swop In The US?

Within the United States and American English, the term “swop” is also considered to be an acceptable variant of the term “swap”. However, the usage of the term “swop” is not always thought of as being correct within the United States, with the spelling “swap” being preferred.

Because of this, it is often recommended that those writing in an American English context should always use the spelling “swap”, in order to maintain a higher level of correctness and recognizability.

Swap Or Swop In Australia?

Within Australia, it is more common to see the term “swap” used and considered correct. However, from the heavy influence of British English, the spelling “swop” can occasionally be seen in writing. The term “swop” is still considered to be an acceptable variant, similarly to America and the UK.

Despite the popular influence of the British Language, the common trend in Australia is to follow the American English commonality of using the spelling “swap”.

Swap vs. Swop – Usage In The English Language

As we can see when looking at the data provided by Google Ngram Viewer, the spelling of “swap” is used far more often than the spelling “swop”. This is a trend that can be seen as being consistent from the beginning of the 1900s and into the present day.

Swap or Swop usage

As we have previously gone over, despite the fact that the spelling of “swop” is considered to be an acceptable variant of the term “swap”, this is not a commonly used term. It is often considered to be a spelling error and an overall incorrect usage of the word.

The minuscule use of the spelling “swop” that we do see, can more than likely be attributed to the specific regional areas where this spelling may be considered correct, or perhaps, just ignored for the preferred spelling of “swap”.