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trade something in (for something)and trade something in (on something)
to return something, such as a car, to a place where cars are sold as partial payment on a new car. I traded my old car in on a new one. I traded in my old jalopy for a newer car.
trade in somethingalso trade something in
to return something as part of a payment for something similar I traded in my wonderful little sports car for a much more practical van. The store wouldn't give me a refund on the camera, but they offered to let me trade it in.
Usage notes: usually said about a device, a piece of equipment, or a vehicle
Give or sell an old or used item and apply the value or proceeds to a new item. For example, Some people prefer to trade in their old car to the dealer, but we feel we'll do better by simply selling it . [First half of 1900s]
1. To engage in the buying and selling of some product or commodity: Our firm trades in gold and silver.
2. To use something as payment or partial payment for a new purchase: You could trade in all your old records for some new CDs. We traded our little car in for a bigger model.