com·​mu·​ta·​tion | \ˌkäm-yə-ˈtā-shən, -yü-\

Definition of commutation 

2 : replacement specifically : a substitution of one form of payment or charge for another a commutation by money payment for the exacted service

3 : a change of a legal penalty or punishment to a lesser one commutation of a death sentence

4 : an act or process of commuting … a ridge of hills makes daily commutation to San Francisco arduous.The New York Times

5 : the action of commutating

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Examples of commutation in a Sentence

He appealed for a commutation of his death sentence to life imprisonment. an international commutation of food for oil

Recent Examples on the Web

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles declined to recommend a commutation of Clark's sentence. Fox News, "Texas executes man in the torture, drowning of ex-roommate," 28 Sep. 2018 The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles declined to recommend a commutation of Clark’s sentence. Michael Graczyk, The Seattle Times, "Man who tortured, drowned ex-roommate set to die Wednesday," 25 Sep. 2018 And in June, after a trip to the White House by Kim Kardashian West, a commutation arrived for Alice Johnson, who was serving a life sentence on drug charges. Campbell Robertson, New York Times, "Pardon Seekers Have a New Strategy in the Trump Era: ‘It’s Who You Know’," 12 July 2018 The Hammonds had sought only a commutation of their prison sentences to allow them to be released early. Gregory Korte, USA TODAY, "President Trump pardons Oregon cattle ranchers whose case inspired takeover of wildlife refuge," 10 July 2018 If President Trump declines to grant Kilpatrick's commutation, the former mayor will remain in prison until at least 2037. Marc Daalder, Detroit Free Press, "Kwame Kilpatrick asks President Trump for mercy," 12 June 2018 The hype over the commutation of her life sentence by President Donald Trump at the request of Kim Kardashian West has started to die down. Adrian Sainz,, "After Trump commuted her prison sentence at the urging of Kim Kardashian, Memphis woman begins new life," 10 June 2018 Justice can be served here, if something like the commutation of the sentence or a pardoning is happening. Greg Gutfeld, Fox News, "Gutfeld on Roseanne," 31 May 2018 President Barack Obama did not intervene in Johnson's case during his eight years in office because the Justice Department recommended denying Johnson's request for commutation. Jason Hanna And Ray Sanchez, CNN, "Alice Johnson thanks Kim Kardashian West for her freedom in emotional first meeting," 14 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'commutation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of commutation

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for commutation

Middle English commutacion, from Anglo-French, from Latin commutation-, commutatio, from commutare

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Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for commutation

The first known use of commutation was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of commutation

law : a change of a punishment to a less severe one

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More from Merriam-Webster on commutation

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with commutation

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for commutation

Britannica English: Translation of commutation for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about commutation

Comments on commutation

What made you want to look up commutation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make faulty or ineffective

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