Definition of commutation in English:



  • 1The action or process of commuting a judicial sentence.

    ‘a commutation of her sentence’
    • ‘Still, four governors have turned down Williams's application for a commutation of his sentence.’
    • ‘If he granted a blanket commutation, it would be just to make it life in prison without parole.’
    • ‘Each state has its own procedure for requesting a pardon or commutation.’
    • ‘She received the same, but with a commutation to 25 years in prison.’
    • ‘Those who serve a set sentence and are entitled to a commutation of their sentence would have to serve between 20 to 30 years in prison, instead of the original minimum of seven years.’
    • ‘The president can stop executions by granting executive clemency or a commutation of the sentence.’
    • ‘The death penalty may only be imposed for the most serious crimes with sentenced persons enjoying the right to seek a pardon or other commutation of the sentence.’
    • ‘A similar provision covers the issue of pardon or commutation of sentence.’
    • ‘It was here that we found the four petitions that sought pardon or commutation of his death penalty.’
    • ‘We've asked for a commutation to straight life which would give Stacey a chance for parole after 15 years.’
    • ‘Jones then applied to the State Board of Pardons and Parole for commutation of the sentence to life imprisonment, which was denied.’
    • ‘Or that the large number of prisoners removed from death row in recent years by commutation and technical legal appeal somehow prove that hundreds of innocent convicts are on the edge of state-sanctioned death.’
    • ‘They have called for the commutation of the death sentences to life imprisonment.’
    • ‘His commutation of those death sentences to a maximum of life in prison makes any future execution in Illinois - formerly site of one of the nation's largest death rows - at best a distant prospect.’
    • ‘It states that ‘Anyone sentenced to death shall have the right to seek pardon or commutation of the sentence.’’
    1. 1.1The conversion of a legal obligation or entitlement into another form, e.g. the replacement of an annuity or series of payments by a single payment.
      ‘the commutation of dues into money rents’
      ‘making a one-off lump sum in commutation of your pension rights’
      • ‘By 1129-30 it is clear that a widespread commutation into money rents had taken place.’
      • ‘Prior to this amendment the tax treatment of lump sum payments from pension funds such as the commutation of one-third of the total value of retirement benefits was based on interpretation of the legislation.’
      • ‘Each policy shall be endorsed stating that it cannot be assigned or surrendered and showing in monetary terms the extent to which benefits may be taken as a single cash payment as commutation or on death.’
      • ‘Regulation 3 permits a scheme to provide for commutation of the whole of the benefit where the pension credit member has a brief life expectancy or where the pension payable would be nominal.’
      • ‘It tells the worker to consider a commutation - effectively cashing in all future entitlements for a significantly smaller lump-sum payment.’
      • ‘From their own pocket and without any access to commutation or pension entitlements.’
  • 2The process of commutating an electric current.

    • ‘With a 17-mm diam and lengths of 17 or 24 mm, a series of motors has high efficiency and long life, due to a precious metal commutation and neodymium magnets.’
    • ‘A main switching element is provided to turn ON and OFF an input voltage, and a synchronous commutating switching element is provided to perform synchronous commutation of a load current.’
    • ‘Very many DC motors (brush-type) have built-in commutation, meaning that as the motor rotates, mechanical brushes automatically commutate coils on the rotor.’
  • 3Mathematics
    The property of having a commutative relation.

    • ‘This discussion has not covered commutation of the construction stages, another important property of the PDN-theorem.’


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘exchange, barter’, later ‘alteration’): from Latin commutatio(n-), from commutare exchange, interchange (see commute). commutation dates from the late 16th century.