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

  • intransitive v. To travel as a commuter.
  • intransitive v. To make substitution or exchange.
  • intransitive v. To serve as a substitute.
  • intransitive v. To pay in gross, usually at a reduced rate, rather than in individual payments.
  • intransitive v. Mathematics & Logic To satisfy or engage in a commutative operation.
  • transitive v. To substitute (one thing for another); exchange.
  • transitive v. To change (a penalty, debt, or payment) to a less severe one.
  • n. An act or instance of commuting, especially the trip made by a commuter: a 22-mile commute; an easy commute.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To regularly travel from one's home to one's workplace, or vice versa.
  • v. To pay out the lump-sum present value of an annuity, instead of paying in instalments.
  • v. To pay, or arrange to pay, in gross instead of part by part.
  • v. To reduce the sentence previously given for a criminal offense.
  • v. To obtain or bargain for exemption or substitution; to effect a commutation.
  • v. To engage in a commutative operation.
  • n. The route one takes to travel to a workplace or back.
  • n. The distance of that route.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To exchange; to put or substitute something else in place of, as a smaller penalty, obligation, or payment, for a greater, or a single thing for an aggregate; hence, to lessen; to diminish.
  • intransitive v. To obtain or bargain for exemption or substitution; to effect a commutation.
  • intransitive v. To pay, or arrange to pay, in gross instead of part by part.
  • intransitive v. to travel regularly from a place of residence to another place, such as where one's daily work is performed. Often, such travel is performed between a suburb and a nearby city.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To exchange; put in the place of another (thing or person); give or receive for another; substitute another thing for.
  • Specifically— To exchange one penalty or punishment for another of less severity.
  • To substitute one sort of burden for another; especially, to substitute money payment for payment in kind or the performance of a compulsory duty: as, to commute tithes.
  • In electricity, to regulate (the direction of an electrical current) as by a commutator.
  • To serve as a substitute.
  • To pay in money instead of in kind or in duty.
  • To pay a single sum as an equivalent for a number of successive payments; specifically, to purchase and use a commutation-ticket.

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

  • v. exchange positions without a change in value
  • v. exchange a penalty for a less severe one
  • v. change the order or arrangement of
  • v. exchange or replace with another, usually of the same kind or category
  • n. a regular journey of some distance to and from your place of work
  • v. travel back and forth regularly, as between one's place of work and home


Middle English commuten, to transform, from Latin commūtāre : com-, com- + mūtāre, to change; see mei-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin commūtō (Wiktionary)



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