Share this entry

Share this page

commutative

Line breaks: com¦mu|ta¦tive
Pronunciation: /kəˈmjuːtətɪv
 
, ˈkɒmjʊˌtətɪv
 
/

Definition of commutative in English:

adjective

1 Mathematics Involving the condition that a group of quantities connected by operators gives the same result whatever the order of the quantities involved, e.g. a × b = b × a.
Example sentences
  • An operation is commutative if you can change the order of the numbers involved without changing the result.
  • In the 1840s, the Irish mathematician William Hamilton found that multiplication was not commutative in all number systems.
  • So, the addition and multiplication we are used to using are commutative.
2 rare Relating to or involving substitution or exchange.
Example sentences
  • The second difficulty was more damaging and, to a degree, commutative with the first.
  • Of course, the relationship between painting and philosophy is not entirely commutative.

Origin

mid 16th century (in the sense 'relating to transactions between people'): from French commutatif, -ive or medieval Latin commutativus, from commutat- 'exchanged', from the verb commutare (see commute).

Definition of commutative in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

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

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day emulous
Pronunciation: ˈɛmjʊləs
adjective
seeking to emulate someone or something