Definition of commutation in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˌkämyəˈtāSHən/


1Action or the process of commuting a judicial sentence.
Example sentences
  • Jones then applied to the State Board of Pardons and Parole for commutation of the sentence to life imprisonment, which was denied.
  • The death penalty may only be imposed for the most serious crimes with sentenced persons enjoying the right to seek a pardon or other commutation of the sentence.
  • A similar provision covers the issue of pardon or commutation of sentence.
1.1The conversion of a legal obligation or entitlement into another form, e.g., the replacement of an annuity or series of payments by a single payment.
Example sentences
  • Each policy shall be endorsed stating that it cannot be assigned or surrendered and showing in monetary terms the extent to which benefits may be taken as a single cash payment as commutation or on death.
  • From their own pocket and without any access to commutation or pension entitlements.
  • Prior to this amendment the tax treatment of lump sum payments from pension funds such as the commutation of one-third of the total value of retirement benefits was based on interpretation of the legislation.
2The process of commutating an electric current.
Example sentences
  • A main switching element is provided to turn ON and OFF an input voltage, and a synchronous commutating switching element is provided to perform synchronous commutation of a load current.
  • With a 17-mm diam and lengths of 17 or 24 mm, a series of motors has high efficiency and long life, due to a precious metal commutation and neodymium magnets.
  • Very many DC motors (brush-type) have built-in commutation, meaning that as the motor rotates, mechanical brushes automatically commutate coils on the rotor.
3 Mathematics The property of having a commutative relation.
Example sentences
  • This discussion has not covered commutation of the construction stages, another important property of the PDN-theorem.


Late Middle English (in the sense 'exchange, barter', later 'alteration'): from Latin commutatio(n-), from commutare 'exchange, interchange' (see commute). sense 1 dates from the late 16th century.

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.