permutation

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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
2 a :the act or process of changing the lineal order of an ordered set of objects
b :an ordered arrangement of a set of objects

permutational

play \ˌpər-myü-ˈtā-shnəl, -shə-nᵊl\ adjective

permutation was our Word of the Day on 08/31/2014. Hear the podcast!

Recent Examples of permutation from the Web

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


PERMUTATION Defined for English Language Learners

permutation

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noun

Definition of permutation for English Language Learners

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



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