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

Blagojevich’s wife, Patti Blagojevich, had made repeated visits on Fox News, the president’s favorite TV news channel, to seek Trump’s approval for a pardon and commutation. Chicago Tribune Staff,, "Daywatch: Trump considers commuting Blagojevich, how a Southwest Side bungalow became a refuge from street life and other things to know to start your day," 8 Aug. 2019 Filing the formal clemency application with the MDOC and governor's office starts the process of having Talbot's case evaluated for a possible commutation or a pardon, which both have historically been exceedingly rare. Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, "She killed her husband. Now friends, family urge Whitmer to pardon her.," 31 July 2019 Trump after successfully petitioning for the commutation of a life sentence for Alice Marie Johnson, a nonviolent drug offender. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, "Kim Kardashian West Visits 'Slam' Actor Momolu Stewart in Prison," 25 July 2019 Wolf tells The Oklahoman that more than 560 inmates applied for commutations last month alone. USA TODAY, "‘Lorax’ tree legend, butter Elmo, meth squirrel: News from around our 50 states," 19 June 2019 Kilpatrick previously unsuccessfully sought commutation from President Barack Obama. Emma Keith, Detroit Free Press, "Kwame Kilpatrick's son to Trump: 'Please grant my father mercy'," 15 Aug. 2019 Petitions for clemency, which include pardons and sentence commutations, are sent to the Office of the Pardon Attorney in the Justice Department. Michael Gold,, "Madoff asks Trump to commute his 150-year sentence," 24 July 2019 Agency officials say the bump in applications might be because Gov. Kevin Stitt last month signed legislation directing the board to speed up commutations for those whose crimes have been reclassified as misdemeanors. USA TODAY, "‘Lorax’ tree legend, butter Elmo, meth squirrel: News from around our 50 states," 19 June 2019 In the last year, the Republican president has raised the specter of a commutation for the disgraced former governor who’s halfway through a 14-year sentence in a public corruption case. Lisa Donovan,, "The Rev. Jesse Jackson and Jesse Jackson Jr. ask President Trump for release, pardon of imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich," 16 July 2019

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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Statistics for commutation

Last Updated

14 Sep 2019

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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

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to make a temporary encampment

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