com·​mute | \ kə-ˈmyüt How to pronounce commute (audio) \
commuted; commuting

Definition of commute

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : change, alter
b : to give in exchange for another : exchange commuting foreign currency to domestic
2 : to convert (something, such as a payment) into another form The periodic payments may be commuted into a lump sum.
3 : to change (a penalty) to another less severe commute a death sentence to life in prison
4 : commutate

intransitive verb

1 : make up, compensate commuted for her sins
2 : to pay in gross (see gross entry 3 sense 1)
3 : to travel back and forth regularly (as between a suburb and a city) He commutes to work every day by car.
4 : to yield the same mathematical result regardless of order used of two elements undergoing an operation or of two operations on elements



Definition of commute (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act or an instance of commuting
2 : the distance covered in commuting a long commute

Other Words from commute


commutable \ kə-​ˈmyü-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce commute (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for commute

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Did you know?

When you commute between a suburb and a city, you're "exchanging" one location for another. When a chief executive substitutes a life sentence for the death sentence handed down by a court, he or she is commuting the original sentence. Most such commutations are the result of the prisoner's good behavior. A commutator is a device in many electric motors that regularly changes alternating current to direct current.

Examples of commute in a Sentence

Verb He commutes to work every day by train. She commutes 400 miles a week. The judge commuted his death sentence to life imprisonment.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Amendment 3 concerns the power of the Alabama governor to commute a death sentence to life in prison. Mike Cason |, al, 25 Aug. 2022 The other passenger was Krissie Hunt, who lives on Treasure Island and was checking out a new way to commute to downtown San Francisco. Carl Nolte, San Francisco Chronicle, 12 Mar. 2022 Those who wish to commute each day pay an additional $160 for meals on Friday and Saturday and access to the buildings and grounds for solo writing and free times. Susan Dunne, Hartford Courant, 1 Sep. 2022 Otherwise, employees will question the need to commute to work just to sit in cubicles and attend video conferences. Paige Mcglauflin, Fortune, 31 Aug. 2022 But the Boston area seems to be different, thanks to strong demand from biotech companies and employers under pressure to put offices closer to workers who no longer want to commute into the city. Diti Kohli,, 28 Aug. 2022 But now that many white collar employees are starting to commute back to their offices, demand for Zoom's software has begun to wane. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, 23 Aug. 2022 In addition to time spent at a desk, the average American spends 25.4 minutes commuting to work and then again to get home, according to the US Census Bureau, and the American Community Survey shows that 86% of workers commute by car. Staff Author, Peoplemag, 19 Aug. 2022 The footbed falls on the slightly firmer side, creating a grounding effect that helped our testers push through shorter runs and commute around the city comfortably—even while recovering from an injury and managing flat feet. Hannah Dylan Pasternak, SELF, 18 Aug. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Because many of the birds are not native to the area, this autumnal commute marks a rare chance to see such a wide variety at once. Nevin Martell, Washington Post, 15 Sep. 2022 Some fans might object to the commute — those who live closer to Soldier Field than Arlington Heights — but everything else could be improved with a new stadium. Brad Biggs, Chicago Tribune, 14 Sep. 2022 The wiry 37-year-old, who mixes music in his spare time, sports long curly locks, bicycles the short commute from his downtown home and faces the chaotic scenes of skid row with a constant smile. Los Angeles Times, 7 Sep. 2022 The judge ordered the sheriff to house Banks at a nearby facility, Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles, to ease the commute. Fox News, 6 Sep. 2022 Working from home highlighted the lack of accommodations in offices as some with disabilities benefited from avoiding the commute in. Chloe Berger, Fortune, 25 Aug. 2022 For some, what isn't so pleasant is the commute—or the long walk—from the restaurant to the show. Megha Mcswain, Chron, 24 Aug. 2022 After having played parts of nine seasons with the Red Sox – a tenure that featured 462 games in the outfield at Fenway, 12th most in team history – Bradley likely could make the commute to work with his eyes closed. Alex Speier,, 23 Aug. 2022 The goal is to have people reconsider their commute patterns. Kathleen Wong, USA TODAY, 18 Aug. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'commute.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of commute


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


1954, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for commute

Verb and Noun

Middle English, from Latin commutare to change, exchange, from com- + mutare to change — more at mutable

Buying Guide

Our Reviews team has selected the best commuter bikes.

Learn More About commute

Time Traveler for commute

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near commute



commuted value

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for commute

Last Updated

21 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Commute.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for commute


com·​mute | \ kə-ˈmyüt How to pronounce commute (audio) \
commuted; commuting

Kids Definition of commute

1 : to travel back and forth regularly
2 : to change (as a penalty) to something less severe The governor commuted the convict's sentence.

Other Words from commute

commuter noun


transitive verb
com·​mute | \ kə-ˈmyüt How to pronounce commute (audio) \
commuted; commuting

Legal Definition of commute

1 : to convert (as a payment) into another form
2 : to change (a penalty) to one less severe especially out of clemency — compare pardon

Other Words from commute

commutation \ ˌkä-​myə-​ˈtā-​shən How to pronounce commute (audio) \ noun
commutative \ kə-​ˈmyü-​tə-​tiv, ˈkä-​myə-​ˌtā-​tiv How to pronounce commute (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on commute

Nglish: Translation of commute for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of commute for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!