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To exchange something larger or more expensive for something smaller or less expensive. A noun or pronoun can be used between "trade" and "down." They were forced to trade down their house after Jim lost his job and they could no longer afford the mortgage. A lot of people are trading their expensive cable TV packages down for low-cost digital streaming subscriptions.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
Exchange for something of lower value or price, as in They bought a smaller boat, trading down for the sake of economy. Similarly, trade up means "make an exchange for something of higher value or price," as in They traded up to a larger house. [First half of 1900s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
To trade something for something else of lower value or price: My SUV used a lot of gas, so I traded it down for a smaller, more economical car. My parents traded down their house for a condominium in Arizona.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.