com·​mu·​ta·​tion | \ ˌkäm-yə-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce commutation (audio) , -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 On Bill Clinton's last day in office, the former president issued a commutation of Vignali's 15-year prison sentence for his role in a cocaine trafficking scheme. Joseph Simonson, Washington Examiner, "Xavier Becerra in crosshairs of Senate GOP ahead of HHS confirmation," 10 Dec. 2020 To pick a commutation, Isaac Nelson served more than half of his mandatory 20 years for crimes involving at least five kilograms of cocaine and 50 grams of crack, the White House said. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Trump’s Pardons—Good, Bad and Ugly," 20 Jan. 2021 Among those under consideration for a pardon or a commutation is Mr. Silver, who was convicted twice on corruption charges and sentenced to prison last summer, two people briefed on the discussions said. New York Times, "Trump Prepares Pardon Wave for Final Hours," 18 Jan. 2021 The Trump administration cited Hogan’s remarks when announcing Harder’s commutation. oregonlive, "Trump commutes 15-year sentence of convicted Oregon fraudster Jon Harder, Sunwest’s founder," 21 Jan. 2021 The charges were dropped in 2018, but are now said to have stalled his prospect of a pardon or commutation. Joseph Simonson, Washington Examiner, "Silk Road founder facing end of White House pardon hopes," 18 Jan. 2021 Burrell went before the Minnesota Board of Pardons with a request for a pardon and commutation. Robin Mcdowell And Margie Mason, USA TODAY, "'Clemency and mercy': Minnesota to free Myon Burrell, convicted in 2002 death of 11-year-old girl," 16 Dec. 2020 Her sentence had three years remaining on it before the commutation. Michael Ruiz, Fox News, "Gov. Cuomo grants clemency to 21 for showing remorse, rehabilitation," 25 Dec. 2020 His bid for freedom has also won the support of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, who in August wrote a letter to Whitmer urging that he be freed via a commutation, the reduction of a prisoner's sentence. Angie Jackson, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan prisoner serving up to 60 years in marijuana case asks for mercy," 17 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for commutation

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for commutation

Last Updated

24 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Commutation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

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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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for commutation

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

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