Definition of commute in English:

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Pronunciation: /kəˈmjuːt/


1 [no object] Travel some distance between one’s home and place of work on a regular basis: he commuted from Corby to Kentish Town
More example sentences
  • I personally think that is an excellent idea, it cuts down players travelling and also makes commuting for supporters easier.
  • We are also looking at people travelling, commuting to Dublin to ascertain the traffic flows, he said.
  • Anyone using ferries to commute or travel on business is going to want to cut down the time involved and will choose the new fast ferries in preference to the older slower vessels.
travel to and from work, travel to and fro, travel back and forth, come and go, shuttle
2 [with object] Reduce (a judicial sentence, especially a sentence of death) to another less severe one: the governor commuted the sentence to fifteen years' imprisonment
More example sentences
  • After thorough consideration, the Governor commuted the death sentences for two of the defendants to life in prison.
  • On January 11, the Illinois Governor commuted the death sentences of all of the state's 167 death row prisoners, reducing the majority of them to life in prison.
  • You see, the Governor can commute a death sentence.
reduce, lessen, lighten, shorten, cut, scale down, limit, curtail, attenuate, mitigate, moderate, modify, adjust
2.1 (commute something for/into) Change one kind of payment or obligation for (another): tithes were commuted into an annual sum varying with the price of corn
More example sentences
  • Under these conditions, direct labor service duties were commuted for money payments.
  • Many of these men were probably employed in respect of lands who had commuted their military obligation for cash, although others were employed entirely in their own right.
  • Landlords had commuted most labor rents and rents in kind into contractual money rents by around 1600.
2.2Replace (an annuity or other series of payments) with a single payment: if he had commuted some of his pension he would have received £330,000
More example sentences
  • The eligible termination payment once again includes circumstances where a person can commute a pension in whole or in part?
  • The trustee claimed to be entitled to elect under the policy to commute part of the annuity for a tax free lump sum.
  • He was invalided out of the Army, his marriage broke up and he commuted some of his pension entitlement for a cash sum to settle his divorce.
3 [no object] Mathematics (Of two operations or quantities) have a commutative relation: operators which do not commute with each other
More example sentences
  • Formal properties of differential operators are studied in many of his contributions, in particular in his early papers he worked on commuting differential operators.
  • In other words, simultaneous measurements can only be mutually compatible for observables corresponding to operators that commute with each other.
  • It is a mathematical theory that studies topology using matrices, using operators that don't commute with each another.


A regular journey of some distance to and from one’s place of work: the daily commute
More example sentences
  • The second is the transport revolution that has made the distance that people can cover in their daily commute greater by the decade.
  • In the major cities 35% cited the daily commute to work as a major cause of stress with traffic jams the stress point for 48% of Leeds inhabitants.
  • My daily commute goes through Grand Central Station.


Late Middle English (in the sense 'interchange (two things')): from Latin commutare, from com- 'altogether' + mutare 'to change'. sense 1 of the verb originally meant to buy and use a commutation ticket, the US term for a season ticket (because the daily fare is commuted to a single payment).

  • In early use commute meant ‘to interchange two things’. Its source is Latin commutare, from com- ‘together’ and mutare ‘to change’, the root of English words such as moult (Late Middle English), mutant (early 19th century), and permutation (Late Middle English). The modern meaning, ‘to travel between home and your place of work’, comes from commutation ticket. This was the American term for a season ticket, where a number of daily fares were ‘commuted’ to, or changed into, a single payment. The Americans have been commuting since the 1860s, but the term did not make its way over to Britain until the 1930s.

Words that rhyme with commute

acute, argute, astute, beaut, Beirut, boot, bruit, brut, brute, Bute, butte, Canute, cheroot, chute, compute, confute, coot, cute, depute, dilute, dispute, flute, galoot, hoot, impute, jute, loot, lute, minute, moot, newt, outshoot, permute, pollute, pursuit, recruit, refute, repute, route, salute, Salyut, scoot, shoot, Shute, sloot, snoot, subacute, suit, telecommute, Tonton Macoute, toot, transmute, undershoot, uproot, Ute, volute

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: com|mute

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