the act of permuting or permutating; alteration; transformation.
the act of changing the order of elements arranged in a particular order, as abc into acb, bac, etc., or of arranging a number of elements in groups made up of equal numbers of the elements in different orders, as a and b in ab and ba; a one-to-one transformation of a set with a finite number of elements.
any of the resulting arrangements or groups. Compare combination ( def 8b ).

1325–75; Middle English permutacioun (< Middle French permutacion) < Latin permūtātiōn- (stem of permūtātiō) thoroughgoing change. See per-, mutation, permute

permutational, adjective
permutationist, noun

1. modification, transmutation, change. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
permutation (ˌpɜːmjʊˈteɪʃən)
1.  maths
 a.  an ordered arrangement of the numbers, terms, etc, of a set into specified groups: the permutations of a, b, and c, taken two at a time, are ab, ba, ac, ca, bc, cb
 b.  Compare combination nPr a group formed in this way. The number of permutations of n objects taken r at a time is n!/(n--r)!
2.  a combination of items made by reordering
3.  an alteration; transformation
4.  Usually shortened to: perm a fixed combination for selections of results on football pools
[C14: from Latin permūtātiō, from permūtāre to change thoroughly; see mutation]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

mid-14c., from O.Fr. permutacion (14c.), from L. permutationem (nom. permutatio), from permutatus, pp. of permutare "change thoroughly, exchange," from per- "thoroughly" + mutare "to change" (see mutable).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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