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

At last, in the final hours of her last day in office, Gregoire’s office announced six pardons and four commutations. Matthew Van Meter, The New Republic, "The Judge and the Three-Strikes Convict," 17 June 2019 In 2014, the Obama administration set up a clemency initiative that led to 1,715 sentence commutations, by far the most of any president. Campbell Robertson, New York Times, "Pardon Seekers Have a New Strategy in the Trump Era: ‘It’s Who You Know’," 12 July 2018 But when Brown announced who was getting pardons and commutations last spring, Burnett wasn’t on the list. Juliet Linderman, The Seattle Times, "California man gets word of pardon after fire destroys home," 27 Nov. 2018 Her commutation is the sixth act of clemency Trump has issued since taking office, and others may be on the way. Doug Criss, CNN, "5 things for June 7: Justice Department, Alice Johnson, China, immigration, airfare," 7 June 2018 His commutation cites his legal work with other inmates, helping them write briefs and fill out court forms. Paul Elias, The Seattle Times, "Billionaire Boys Club’s Joe Hunt seeks cut in life sentence," 23 Oct. 2018 Rick Perry after the Texas parole board recommended his commutation to a life sentence. Fox News, "Prison portraits from retiring AP reporter Mike Graczyk," 31 July 2018 At the time, Foster became the only Texas inmate to win a commutation from Perry without the prodding of a court. Fox News, "Prison portraits from retiring AP reporter Mike Graczyk," 31 July 2018 Topspin Put Rod Blagojevich’s two-time running mate Pat Quinn in the no-commutation-for-Blago camp. Chicago Tribune Staff,, "Morning Spin: Mercy for Blagojevich? His successor says no," 8 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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Statistics for commutation

Last Updated

22 Jun 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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food or victuals

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