from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A substitution, exchange, or interchange.
  • n. The substitution of one kind of payment for another.
  • n. The payment substituted.
  • n. The travel of a commuter.
  • n. Electricity Conversion of alternating to unidirectional current.
  • n. Electricity Reversal of current direction.
  • n. Law Reduction of a penalty to a less severe one.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A passing from one state to another; change; alteration; mutation.
  • n. The act of giving one thing for another; barter; exchange.
  • n. Substitution of one thing for another; interchange.
  • n. Specifically, the substitution of one kind of payment for another, especially a switch to monetary payment from obligations of labour.
  • n. The change to a lesser penalty or punishment by the State
  • n. Substitution, as a means of discriminating between phonemes.
  • n. The reversal of an electric current.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A passing from one state to another; change; alteration; mutation.
  • n. The act of giving one thing for another; barter; exchange.
  • n. The change of a penalty or punishment by the pardoning power of the State.
  • n. A substitution, as of a less thing for a greater, esp. a substitution of one form of payment for another, or one payment for many, or a specific sum of money for conditional payments or allowances.
  • n. regular travel from a place of residence to a place where one's daily work is performed; commuting. Most often, such travel is performed between a suburb and a nearby city.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A passing from one state to another; alteration; change.
  • n. The act of giving one thing for another; exchange; barter.
  • n. The act of substituting one thing for another; substitution.
  • n. Specifically— In law, the change of a penalty or punishment from a greater to a less, as banishment instead of death.
  • n. The substitution of one sort of payment for another, or of a money payment in lieu of the performance of compulsory duty or labor, or of a single payment in lieu of a number of successive payments, usually at a reduced rate. See commutation-ticket.
  • n. Milit., the money value of allowances, such as quarters, fuel, forage, etc., taken in place of them.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (law) the reduction in severity of a punishment imposed by law
  • n. a warrant substituting a lesser punishment for a greater one
  • n. the travel of a commuter
  • n. the act of putting one thing or person in the place of another:


Middle English commutacioun, from Latin commūtātiō, commūtātiōn-, from commūtātus, past participle of commūtāre, to alter, exchange; see commute.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French commutation, from Latin commūtātiōnem, accusative singular of commūtātiō. (Wiktionary)


  • "The cash payment in commutation of leave under this paragraph shall equal the compensation that such employee would have received had he remained in the service until the expiration of the period of such leave."


  • The commutation is a virtual admission of guilt by Bush that the outing of Plame was part of a generalized conspiracy in the White House that involved major players, i.e. either Bush or Cheney themselves.

    Bush Impeachment �� Libby Commutation Makes it Imperative

  • Of course, as Joe Wilson also pointed out, if the commutation was the result of a quid pro quo, then Libby will continue to have no motivation to tell the truth to prosecutors.

    Libby and the Flirtation Deflection

  • Thus, the commutation is a part of a cowardly coverup.

    The Bush/Cheney Holocaust in Iraq, Part Three: Desperation unto Bombing Iran?

  • Like a pardon, a commutation is a form of clemency, granted to the president by the Constitution.

    Archive 2007-07-01

  • Recently, the president did not pardon him but granted him with a commutation, which is definitely to his advantage.

    CNN Transcript Jul 5, 2007

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling the commutation a "betrayal of trust of the American people."

    CNN Transcript Jul 2, 2007

  • Yesterday's term was commutation, which is defined as:

    Define That Term #31

  • It's whether or not the circumstances of the case warrants some clemency, in this case, a commutation, which is rarely granted.

    CNN Transcript Feb 26, 2001

  • Q Joe, Howard Wolfson, who is the spokesman for Mrs. Clinton's exploratory committee, says, "she stands by her Saturday statement," which was that the FALN convicts '"absence of a response speaks volumes," and the commutation is a mistake.

    Press Briefing By Joe Lockhart


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