The company, which is unprofitable, said that its average shopper spent less than $90 on the platform last year. That translates into revenue per shopper of a dollar and change.

source The most reasonable meaning maybe was "smaller bills or coins", but it seems it doesn't make sense in here.

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    I'm reminded of an occasion back in the 70s when Germans weren't quite so good at English and the Munich trams had a notice on the ticket machines saying "change is allowed" but there was nowhere to put your coins, and what they actually meant was that you were allowed to change trams using a single ticket. Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 11:10
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    Since there are no bills smaller than a dollar (one dollar) how can change be anything but coins? Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 21:51
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    @Clare Change can mean the money that a cashier returns to you when you pay for something. If you pay for a $3 item with a $5 bill, you'll receive $2 in change (probably as two $1 bills). Commented Jul 28, 2018 at 23:10
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    I think that "change" referring to coins is a shortened form of "small change".
    – user6619
    Commented Jul 29, 2018 at 10:02
  • @Hurkyl Not here, it isn't. They're just using the 'small, negligible amount sense' of 'change' mentioned by Mr Bassford.
    – lly
    Commented Jul 29, 2018 at 17:32

7 Answers 7


Change, in this context, refers to a small amount of money less than a dollar.

You can refer to $1.08 as a dollar and change.

Also, change need not be taken literally in the sense of physical coins. It just means "a much smaller amount than a dollar."

From Merriam-Webster, it's the following sense of the noun:

2 d : a negligible additional amount • only six minutes and change left in the game

In the context of six minutes and change, the change is not coins but seconds.

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    That makes sense. In Chinese, we say "a dollar and a little (a little more than a dollar)"
    – Zhang
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 6:39
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    @马化腾: Tangentially, Flemish dialect uses "... and a fart" to point out the small addition (this is also used figuratively, when not referring to numerical values)
    – Flater
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 9:09
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    In informal British English, "... and a gnat's" has the same meaning. Precisely which small part of the gnat's anatomy is left to the imagination!
    – alephzero
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 14:40
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    Note that it doesn't have to be a small amount of money in absolute terms, just relatively. You might get an answer like "Oh, thirty million and change" when asking your rich friend how much his new house cost :-)
    – jamesqf
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 15:54
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    I would suggest that "an amount less than a dollar" would be more accurate than "a much smaller amount than a dollar." It would be perfectly acceptable to say a dollar and change for $1.95. Commented Jul 29, 2018 at 2:59

Change = Coins

At least in my area in the US, change is synonymous with coins (of the denominations used in everyday transactions, i.e., for amounts under a dollar; coins of a dollar or more exist but are rarely used and aren't generally referred to as change).

"Change for a dollar" is one dollar worth of coins to exchange for a one dollar note. You could have a big sack of coins, worth significant dollars, and it might be called a bag of change. So in that sense, "change" doesn't necessarily mean a small value, it just means money in the form of coins.

Context for change = small amount

"Change" can be used in a generic way to mean a small amount of something, including something other than money. It's an analogy to how coins are used. In typical cash transactions, paper currency is used for the whole dollar amounts, and coins are used for the fractional-dollar residual amounts. Nobody carries around, or deals with, large quantities of coins. So in everyday usage, people associate "change" with small numbers of coins; "pocket change". That's the usage in the question; a dollar and change is a dollar bill plus some coins, meaning a little more than a dollar.

Something and change

This pattern has been extrapolated to other uses, like minutes and change left in a game, as mentioned by Jason Bassford. Here, "change" similarly refers to the residual amount that is a fraction of the associated unit of measure. But for that context to be recognizable, change must be used in combination with some other explicitly stated unit to which it is compared, like dollars and change or minutes and change. If someone were to say just change left in the game, the meaning wouldn't be understood.

"Change" used in this way doesn't necessarily refer to a small amount of something in absolute terms, but small in relation to something else; a fractional part, which could actually be big in absolute terms if it is a fraction of something big.

For example, Doktor J mentions in a comment -- buying a house for a million and change. Here, the stated unit is million dollars, so change refers to an additional fractional portion of a million dollars.

In typical use, if that fractional portion is a substantial fraction, the amount is expressed in units and fractions; a million and a half, or a minute and a quarter left in the game. The form something and change is typically reserved for when the fraction is small.

However, it is a nebulous usage, so it could also be used to obfuscate. Take a scenario where a customer is inquiring about the price of something. Customer: "What will this cost me?" Salesman: "A hundred and change". Then the salesman explains all of the great benefits and features and convinces the customer to buy it. When the customer goes to pay, the actual amount turns out to be $160.00. The salesman was being purposely vague and stretched the typical meaning without actually lying.

Change alone

"Change" can be used by itself to indicate a small (relative) amount, and will be understood, if the amount in question is money. For example, I got the house for change. From the context, it is obvious that this is meant figuratively, not literally.

"Change", in this case, would be understood to mean a small amount relative to the value of a house (the implied "unit of measure"); perhaps equivalent to the expression "pennies on the dollar", or exaggeration for emphasis, like saying it was an amount so small it would be transacted with coins.

  • Would you use "change" to refer to coins of €2, £2, CHF 5 (worth approximately USD 5.03), or even a coin of US$1? If yes, then this answer contradicts @JasonBassfords answer.
    – gerrit
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 14:09
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    Coins worth more than 25 cents are unpopular and uncommon in the US. People would not normally be speaking of them when referring to 'change'. (Coins worth $1 do exist, but they are so rarely used that many people don't recognize them, and mistake them for quarters, forgeries, or foreign coins.) Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 14:32
  • @gerrit being from the UK change corresponds to coins rather than notes (anything from a penny up to £2), or money returned to somebody during a transaction where the purchaser handed over more than was necessary to complete a purchase. However, within the context of the phrase the meaning changes [no pun intended] and is understood to mean a small amount of money
    – phuzi
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 14:52
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    @gerrit As Glenn notes, the dollar (and half-dollar) coin is exceptionally unpopular in the U.S., despite decades of the Mint pushing its various iterations with massive public awareness campaigns. So, the American consumer still thinks of change as insignificant, as with loose change, small change, spare change, etc. When we travel abroad, we have to remember that coins in other countries can be "real money." Likewise, if the bills are colorful and attractive instead of a limp drab green, we think of it as "Monopoly money" and tend to overspend.
    – choster
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 15:03
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    Except if I paid $1,009,500.00 for a house, some could say I paid "a million and change" -- that hardly means I paid the remaining $9,500.00 in coins! Change simply refers to a small amount relative to the quantity specified.
    – Doktor J
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 20:39

Dictionary Definition

In the context of money, "change" (which most likely derives from exchange) usually has one of the following definitions:

change noun (MONEY)

  • the difference in money, returned to the buyer, between what is paid for something and the lesser amount that it costs:

    It costs $17 and you gave me $20, so here’s your $3 change.

  • Change also refers to smaller units of money whose total value is equal to that of a larger unit:

    I need change for a $50 bill because I want to take a taxi.
    Do you have change for/of a dollar?

  • Change can refer to coins rather than bills:

    Bring a lot of change for using the public telephones.

Idiomatic Usage

As an idiom, the phrase "and change" means the initial sum, plus some undefined amount less than the first value. In this context, "a dollar and change" means $1.00 + ($0.01..$0.99), but the amount of change isn't considered significant enough to require spoken precision.

Another way of thinking of this idiom is as a postfix meaning "approximately." So again, a dollar and change means "approximately, more than a dollar but less than two dollars."

  • Such a quaint reference to public telephones! In another generation, few people will be able to relate to that example sentence. I hope the dictionary editors have the sense to change that to something like vending machines (although, with more and more vending machines accepting paper bills and even credit cards, even that might not stand the test of time).
    – J.R.
    Commented Jul 28, 2018 at 8:13

As others said change refers to a small amount of coins. pennies, quarters etc.

The reason for the naming is that you won't get coins from an ATM, but if you buy something / pay in cash, you get change. Usually you won't get 3 dollars and 34 cents in coins, but 3 dollar bills and 34 cents in coins. So the coins are (preferably) always smaller than a dollar, and only obtained when you get change.

Homeless people / beggars will usually ask for change. This is because people are more likely to give away the "annoying and heavy" coins instead of the more valuable and light (in terms of weight) bills.


The word is change.

Change in such contexts means money with smaller values. Dollars would have change in cents; Rupees would have paisa, and so on.

The company making less profit says that the revenue per shopper goes just up to one dollar and change (a few cents). In short, very less profit.


The other answers are solid enough, but here's mine.

Change in this context is a Colloquial term.
"Change" literally refers to units you could exchange for a unit of greater or equal value.

For example, if you have a dollar and change, you have a dollar and some number of lesser units (quarters, nickels, dimes, pennies). You can make a dollar out of those lesser units, so they're exchangeable for the dollar. a 10-dollar note is not change for a dollar, but a dollar can be change for a 10-dollar note.

When buying something with cash, you typically hand over a note (or two), and a number of coins.
Often Literally a dollar and change.
It's a very distinct image and the term has sprung up to describe it. I recommend a google-image search for the phrase if you want to see what I mean.

As commented by Jason Bassford in his answer, you can also use different units.
You might say "A minute and change", meaning a minute and a number of seconds less than a minute. Most likely a lot less or you'd just say "a minute and a half" or "nearly two minutes".
This is less common, but fits the same pattern.

Change also refers to events leaving things different to how they used to be, which is the non-colloquial use of the term. This is the "Change we can believe in" case.


Just as a side note, "change" is referred to when making a transaction. If I give the cashier a $20 bill for an item that cost $15.50. The cashier would hand me $4.50 and say, "Here is your change." The "change" being the amount of money returned to me that I gave in excess of what my item cost.

However, in the context of the question asked, "change" is specifically referring to an amount less than $1, ie. a coin amount.

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