Definition of permutation
1 : often major or fundamental change (as in character or condition) based primarily on rearrangement of existent elements the system has gone through several permutations; also : a form or variety resulting from such change technology available in various permutations
2a : the act or process of changing the lineal order of an ordered set of objectsb : an ordered arrangement of a set of objects
permutationalplay \ˌpər-myü-ˈtā-shnəl, -shə-nəl\ adjective
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Recent Examples of permutation from the Web
The few remaining humans seem to be living in military units, and one by one they are being struck down by a new permutation of the virus that leaves them unable to speak.
In the multi-wear game, the Sounds of Nature necklace wins for most permutations: It can be worn 10 different ways.
Even the band's best known (and best selling) '70s line-up eventually gave way, through acrimony and attrition, to endless permutations of the group's by-then familiar five members.
Since its release, Late Shift has riffed on virtually every permutation of the interactive movie over the years.
This engaging history stretches from cave painting through the Bass Ale triangle (often credited as the first commercial logo) to the latest permutations in Uber's symbol.
The Californian photojournalist Lauren Greenfield, who captured this scene, has been documenting the American dream in its all permutations for the last 25 years or so.
And day one’s (June 10) illuminating slate of legendary performers and fresh faces didn’t disappoint the packed house inside the Hollywood Bowl as everyone celebrated jazz in its many colorful permutations.
There are few who can appreciate the math of super teams as much as LeBron James, having been a factor in just about every possible permutation.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'permutation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Permutation has not changed all that much since it was borrowed into Middle English from Anglo-French in the 14th century as permutacioun, meaning "exchange, transformation." Permutacioun traces back to the Latin verb permutare, meaning "to change thoroughly, exchange," and ultimately derives from the Latin mutare, to change. Other descendants of mutare in English include commute, mutant, and mutual. Permutation also has a specific application in the field of mathematics relating to the ordering of a given set of objects. For example, permutations of items a, b, and c are abc, acb, bac, etc.
Origin and Etymology of permutation
Middle English permutacioun exchange, transformation, from Anglo-French, from Latin permutation-, permutatio, from permutare
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
PERMUTATION Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of permutation for English Language Learners
: one of the many different ways or forms in which something exists or can be arranged
Seen and Heard
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