permutation

noun
per·​mu·​ta·​tion | \ ˌpər-myü-ˈtā-shən \

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 objects
b : an ordered arrangement of a set of objects

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Other Words from permutation

permutational \ ˌpər-​myü-​ˈtā-​shnəl , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

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.

Examples of permutation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Instead, you are pulled you into its unceasing tidal sweep, as tickled as a toddler with a bedtime story that promises endless permutations. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: ‘The Lehman Trilogy’ Is a Transfixing Epic of Riches and Ruin," 13 July 2018 The software does the rest—exploring nearly infinite design permutations based on existing design concepts. Pam Baker, Ars Technica, "Artificial Intelligence and the coming of the self-designing machine," 6 Dec. 2018 In mathematics, a permutation is the order of a set of numbers. Mary Beth Griggs, The Verge, "An anonymous 4chan post could help solve a 25-year-old math mystery," 24 Oct. 2018 Yet another permutation of sleeve and sparkle felt passé. Mackenzie Wagoner, Glamour, "How Athleisure Evolved Into Fashion's Obsession With All Things Outdoors," 20 Nov. 2018 Indeed, all the beautiful permutations of the human form — the differences between the tallest and shortest, the brown-eyed and the green-eyed — are explained by just a tiny fraction of those base pairs. Brian Resnick, Vox, "How scientists are trying to predict your future with your genes," 23 Aug. 2018 Perhaps more than any other part of a soccer game, which flows with so many permutations, shootouts are something that can be prepared and planned for. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "World Cup penalty shootouts have nothing to do with luck," 5 July 2018 Among culturally telling permutations of the wider alt-right Twitter is an internet personality known as Bronze Age Pervert. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "The religious hunger that drives Jordan Peterson’s fandom," 1 June 2018 This thanks to his embrace of seemingly every permutation of the brand’s signature futuristic plastic disc and chain mail dresses. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, "The Elephant in the Dressing Room," 2 Mar. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of permutation

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for permutation

Middle English permutacioun exchange, transformation, from Anglo-French, from Latin permutation-, permutatio, from permutare

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Last Updated

2 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for permutation

The first known use of permutation was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for permutation

permutation

noun

English Language Learners Definition of permutation

formal : one of the many different ways or forms in which something exists or can be arranged

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More from Merriam-Webster on permutation

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with permutation

Spanish Central: Translation of permutation

Britannica English: Translation of permutation for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about permutation

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