follow Dictionary.com

Stories We Like: Novels For Language Lovers

commutation

[kom-yuh-tey-shuh n] /ˌkɒm yəˈteɪ ʃən/
noun
1.
the act of substituting one thing for another; substitution; exchange.
2.
the changing of a prison sentence or other penalty to another less severe.
3.
the act of commuting, as to and from a place of work.
4.
the substitution of one kind of payment for another.
5.
Electricity. the act or process of commutating.
6.
Also called commutation test. Linguistics. the technique, especially in phonological analysis, of substituting one linguistic item for another while keeping the surrounding elements constant, used as a means of determining the constituent units in a sequence and their contrasts with other units.
Origin
late Middle English
1400-1450
1400-50; late Middle English commutacioun < Latin commūtātiōn- (stem of commutātiō) change. See commute, -ation
Related forms
procommutation, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
British Dictionary definitions for commutations

commutation

/ˌkɒmjʊˈteɪʃən/
noun
1.
a substitution or exchange
2.
  1. the replacement of one method of payment by another
  2. the payment substituted
3.
the reduction in severity of a penalty imposed by law
4.
the process of commutating an electric current
5.
(US) the travelling done by a commuter
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for commutations

commutation

n.

mid-15c., from Old French commutacion "change, transformation, exchange, barter" (13c., Modern French commutation), from Latin commutationem (nominative commutatio) "a change, alteration," noun of action from past participle stem of commutare "to change, alter entirely" (see commute (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for commutations

commutation

in law, shortening of a term of punishment or lowering of the level of punishment. For example, a 10-year jail sentence may be commuted to 5 years, or a sentence of death may be commuted to life in prison. Often, after a person has served part of his sentence, the remainder is commuted owing to specific circumstances. Commutation of sentence differs from pardon, which, if unconditional, removes the stigma both of the court decision and of the punishment and restores the person's civil rights; commutation does neither. Commutation is also distinguished from reprieve, which merely delays or temporarily suspends the sentence

Learn more about commutation with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for commutation

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for commutations

18
23
Scrabble Words With Friends