com·​mu·​ta·​tion | \ ?k?m-y?-?tā-sh?n How to pronounce commutation (audio) , -yü- \

Definition of commutation

2 : replacement specifically : a substitution of one form of payment or charge for another a commutation by money payment for the exacted service
3 : a change of a legal penalty or punishment to a lesser one commutation of a death sentence
4 : an act or process of commuting … a ridge of hills makes daily commutation to San Francisco arduous.The New York Times
5 : the action of commutating

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Examples of commutation in a Sentence

He appealed for a commutation of his death sentence to life imprisonment. an international commutation of food for oil
Recent Examples on the Web The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee weighed in on the issue by proposing that crime victims have the right to be notified and heard before their assailant gets any pardon or commutation. Bruce Schreiner, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky bills at General Assembly respond to Bevin’s flurry of last-minute pardons," 11 Jan. 2020 Bevin granted hundreds of pardons and commutations in his last act as governor. CBS News, "FBI probing some pardons by former Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin," 26 Dec. 2019 Erik Jensen received a commutation, meaning his prison sentence will be cut short. Noelle Phillips, The Denver Post, "A man sentenced to life without parole as a juvenile and woman in sanctuary in a church receive clemency from Gov. Polis," 23 Dec. 2019 But the controversial pardons and commutations also were the result of Kentucky’s unilateral clemency process, which provides the governor an unusually large degree of unchecked autonomy in selecting which inmates get leniency. Mark Berman, Washington Post, "Kentucky’s governor issued more than 600 pardons. Then came a firestorm.," 22 Dec. 2019 The commutation of Doyle Williams' sentence was a rare move for the public safety-focused governor, who previously had signed off on reduced punishments only when prisoners were near death. Maria Polletta, azcentral, "In rare move, Arizona governor reduces sentence for man convicted of murder almost 50 years ago," 27 Nov. 2019 But in the commutation request, Reed's defense attorneys argue the state relied on inaccurate science. Erin Donaghue, CBS News, "Rihanna, Meek Mill, Janelle Monáe join calls to halt Texas inmate's execution amid "cloud of doubt"," 5 Nov. 2019 Many that were fully reviewed were not granted…Many other applications were fully reviewed and resulted in either a conditional or full pardon, or a commutation of some part of the existing sentence... Darcy Costello, The Courier-Journal, "'Am I perfect? No.' Matt Bevin defends controversial pardons, attacks 'offensive' reports," 13 Dec. 2019 The former governor issued 428 pardons and commutations between his departure and his narrow loss in November to Democrat Andy Beshear, who was sworn into office Tuesday. Sarah Brookbank,, "Matt Bevin pardoned a Northern Kentucky man convicted of impersonating a police officer," 13 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'commutation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of commutation

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for commutation

Middle English commutacion, from Anglo-French, from Latin commutation-, commutatio, from commutare

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Time Traveler for commutation

Time Traveler

The first known use of commutation was in the 15th century

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Statistics for commutation

Last Updated

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Commutation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce commutation (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of commutation

law : a change of a punishment to a less severe one

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for commutation

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with commutation

Britannica English: Translation of commutation for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about commutation

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