com·​mu·​ta·​tive | \ kə-ˈmyü-tə-tiv How to pronounce commutative (audio) , ˈkäm-yə-ˌtā-tiv How to pronounce commutative (audio) \

Definition of commutative

1 : of, relating to, or showing commutation
2 : of, relating to, having, or being the property that a given mathematical operation and set have when the result obtained using any two elements of the set with the operation does not differ with the order in which the elements are used a commutative group addition of the positive integers is commutative

Examples of commutative in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Like the quaternions, octonion multiplication is not commutative. Quanta Magazine, 25 Oct. 2018 The elements of class groups must obey the associative and commutative properties of addition, and must include a zero element, such that zero plus any other element leaves the element unchanged. Kevin Hartnett, Quanta Magazine, 2 Mar. 2017 Notice this means that, unlike with the real and complex numbers, multiplication of quaternions is not commutative. Quanta Magazine, 25 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'commutative.' 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 commutative

1612, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for commutative

Time Traveler

The first known use of commutative was in 1612

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Cite this Entry

“Commutative.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for commutative


com·​mu·​ta·​tive | \ ˈkä-myə-ˌtā-tiv How to pronounce commutative (audio) \

Kids Definition of commutative

: being a property of a mathematical operation (as addition or multiplication) in which the result does not depend on the order of the elements The commutative property of addition states that 1 + 2 and 2 + 1 will both have a sum of 3.

More from Merriam-Webster on commutative

Britannica English: Translation of commutative for Arabic Speakers


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