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

Here's a handy guide to the seven people Trump has pardoned or given a commutation to so far, and who could be up next. NBC News, "Field guide to President Donald Trump's pardons," 17 June 2018 Her commutation is inspirational & gives hope to so many others who are deserving of a second chance. Morgan M. Evans, Fox News, "Kim Kardashian travels to Memphis to meet Alice Marie Johnson in person," 13 June 2018 Kardashian said of her role in Johnson’s commutation during her exclusive interview on The Van Jones Show on Thursday., "Alice Marie Johnson Gives First Interview Following Release From Prison, Plans to Pursue Prison Reform," 8 June 2018 Still, because the president’s pardon and commutation power is limited to the federal level, the federal prison system is where Trump has a particularly strong influence. P.r. Lockhart, Vox, "Trump commuted Alice Johnson’s sentence. Thousands of people like her are still behind bars.," 7 June 2018 Brown has now handed down 1,115 pardons, along with 51 commutations of sentences, since returning to office in 2011, far more than any other governor in modern California history. Alexei Koseff, sacbee, "Jerry Brown pardons five immigrants facing deportation | The Sacramento Bee," 30 Mar. 2018 Jack Johnson's pardon came at the request of actor Sylvester Stallone, and Alice Marie Johnson's commutation came after an Oval Office meeting with reality television star Kim Kardashian. Gregory Korte, USA TODAY, "Trump says he may pardon Muhammad Ali — the late boxing champion who doesn't need one," 8 June 2018 Given that Johnson's commutation came less than a week after Kardashian West met with Trump at the White House, some have credited her with possibly helping reshape the president's position on criminal justice reform. Eugene Scott, Washington Post, "Trump’s commutation of Alice Johnson’s sentence should not overshadow his administration’s criminal justice agenda," 6 June 2018 Since the beginning of his presidency through May 7, Mr. Trump received 570 requests for pardons and about 2,306 requests for commutation of sentences. CBS News, "Who gets a Trump pardon?," 1 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

12 Oct 2018

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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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