c. 1200, "to alter, make different, change" (transitive); early 13c. as "to substitute one for another;" mid-13c. as "to make (something) other than what it was, cause to turn or pass from one state to another;" from late 13c. as "to become different, be altered" (intransitive), from Old French changier "to change, alter; exchange, switch," from Late Latin cambiare "to barter, exchange," extended form of Latin cambire "to exchange, barter," a word of Celtic origin, from PIE root *kemb- "to bend, crook" (with a sense evolution perhaps from "to turn" to "to change," to "to barter"); cognate with Old Irish camm "crooked, curved;" Middle Irish cimb "tribute," cimbid "prisoner;" see cant (n.2).
From c. 1300 as "undergo alteration, become different." In part an abbreviation of exchange. From late 14c. especially "to give an equivalent for in smaller parts of the same kind" (money). Meaning "to take off clothes and put on other ones" is from late 15c. Related: Changed;changing. To change (one's) mind is from 1590s.
c. 1200, "act or fact of changing," from Anglo-French chaunge, Old French change "exchange, recompense, reciprocation," from changier "to alter; exchange; to switch" (see change (v.)). Related: changes.
Meaning "a different situation, variety, novelty" is from 1680s (as in for a change, 1690s). Meaning "something substituted for something else" is from 1590s. Meaning "place where merchants meet to do business" is from c. 1400. Meaning "the passing from life to death" is biblical (161os).
The financial sense of "balance of money returned after deducting the price of a purchase from the sum paid" is first recorded 1620s; hence to make change (by 1865). Bell-ringing sense is from 1610s, "any sequence other than the diatonic." Hence the figurative phrase ring changes "repeat in every possible order" (1610s). Figurative phrase change of heart is from 1828. In reference to women, change of life "final cessation of menstruation" is recorded from 1834.
Grammatical meaning "expressing intensity" is from c. 1600; as a noun, "something expressing intensity," 1813, from the adjective. Alternative intensitive is a malformation. Intensive care attested from 1958. Related: Intensively; intensiveness.