Definition of permutation in English:

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Pronunciation: /pəːmjʊˈteɪʃ(ə)n/


1Each of several possible ways in which a set or number of things can be ordered or arranged: his thoughts raced ahead to fifty different permutations of what he must do
More example sentences
  • The possible permutations of ordering the seven stamps determined the need for 42 collages.
  • We will give a proof here, independent of Wilson's theorem, that all permutations are possible.
  • There are 16 different permutations for a possible World Series matchup this season.
1.1 [mass noun] Mathematics The action of changing the arrangement, especially the linear order, of a set of items.
Example sentences
  • The statistical significance of this test is calculated by permutation.
  • A simple position permutation was also used to generate random sequences.
  • The statistical significance of the values was estimated by permutation analysis using 1,000 replications.
1.2British A selection of a specified number of matches in a football pool.



Example sentences
  • His methods here are based on wreath products and permutational products.
  • The table was analyzed using an exact permutational test using the algorithm of ROFF and BENTZEN permuted randomly 1000 times.
  • Here, the permutational integers are sentences, rather than rhymes.


Late Middle English (in the sense 'exchange, barter'): via Old French from Latin permutatio(n-), from the verb permutare 'change completely' (see permute).

  • commute from Late Middle English:

    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.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: per¦mu|ta¦tion

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