Definition of commute in English:



  • 1no object Travel some distance between one's home and place of work on a regular basis.

    ‘he commuted from Corby to Kentish Town’
    • ‘The new entrance will be welcome news for the large population of commuters now living at that end of the town, most of who are commuting on a daily basis to Dublin.’
    • ‘Additionally, up to 130,000 passengers enter and leave the city by train and by air, who also commute to and from the railway station or the airport.’
    • ‘Do you commute to work or spend a lot of time travelling to meetings and conferences?’
    • ‘We are also looking at people travelling, commuting to Dublin to ascertain the traffic flows, he said.’
    • ‘Many people spend much of their working week travelling in cars, trains, etc. commuting to and from their places of employment.’
    • ‘Twenty-five years ago very few people were commuting to Galway from South Mayo on a daily basis to work.’
    • ‘After spending five months commuting weekly to London, she accepted a temporary post at in Birmingham and there covered regional news programmes and documentaries.’
    • ‘Anyone using ferries to commute or travel on business is going to want to cut down the time involved and will choose the new fast ferries in preference to the older slower vessels.’
    • ‘If people are commuting to urban areas, we need to make sure they are participating in the communities they are living in.’
    • ‘Claire, a student radiographer who commutes regularly between Skipton and Bradford, found the trains to be very unreliable.’
    • ‘An estimated 37,000 people regularly commute to the Swindon area, of which 23,000 make the journey on a daily basis.’
    • ‘If people in the Bolton area stop using their cars for commuting, they can forget about switching to the railways because, even before the removal of the above mentioned trains, existing services are filled to capacity.’
    • ‘In order to recreate some of the atmosphere of those ‘happy days’, I am heading off home to Suffolk this evening in order to spend the next four days commuting to Cambridge and back from Ipswich.’
    • ‘Yes, I'm fully aware that traffic may well slow you down when commuting from place to place, especially in urban settings but leave a little earlier to take that into account.’
    • ‘It is just not realistic to expect urban workers to commute long distances on a daily basis to reach their place of work.’
    • ‘He has been commuting to London on a weekly basis for four years.’
    • ‘But many Japanese suffer from the distances they commute to work.’
    • ‘Hundreds commute on a daily basis from my constituency to the capital.’
    • ‘I personally think that is an excellent idea, it cuts down players travelling and also makes commuting for supporters easier.’
    • ‘A significant number of people commute daily to London, offset by commuters into Brighton and Hove from the surrounding county.’
    travel to and from work, travel to and fro, travel back and forth, come and go, shuttle
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  • 2with object Reduce (a judicial sentence, especially a sentence of death) to another less severe one.

    ‘the governor commuted the sentence to fifteen years' imprisonment’
    • ‘When they were condemned to gather firewood from hills, their punishment could be commuted to a payment of 300 coins per month.’
    • ‘Many observers, including legal experts, expect an appeal to the province's high court will result in the death sentence being commuted but the court's decision is still awaited.’
    • ‘But the Supreme Court sympathetically commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment.’
    • ‘Earlier this year, the outgoing governor of Illinois commuted the sentences of all 167 inmates on the state's death row.’
    • ‘In the 1980s he confessed to hundreds of killings but later retracted these confessions and his death sentence was recently commuted to life imprisonment.’
    • ‘Some states also limit the governor's power to commute sentences and pardon convicted criminals.’
    • ‘After thorough consideration, the Governor commuted the death sentences for two of the defendants to life in prison.’
    • ‘On January 11, the Illinois Governor commuted the death sentences of all of the state's 167 death row prisoners, reducing the majority of them to life in prison.’
    • ‘His death sentence was commuted to one of life imprisonment by the Georgia governor who expressed doubts about Frank's guilt.’
    • ‘Judges gave no reason for commuting the death sentence on him and the acquittal of the others.’
    • ‘After five years in an Iraqi dungeon, his death sentence was commuted to permanent exile.’
    • ‘Her death sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment.’
    • ‘On Wednesday, the judge in the original trial took the unprecedented step of urging the Governor to commute Beazley's sentence to life in prison because of his age.’
    • ‘You see, the Governor can commute a death sentence.’
    • ‘The death sentences were commuted to prison sentences and all the men were out of prison by the end of 1956.’
    • ‘Part of the Commission's duty was to advise the Governor on the desirability of releasing convicts or commuting their sentence.’
    • ‘This death sentence was later commuted to life in prison.’
    • ‘Estrada's move to soften his stand on capital punishment followed his announcement that he has commuted death sentences to life terms for over 100 convicts.’
    • ‘Suspended death sentences usually are commuted later to long prison terms.’
    • ‘A death sentence was commuted to life in prison, then cut to ten years.’
    reduce, lessen, lighten, shorten, cut, scale down, limit, curtail, attenuate, mitigate, moderate, modify, adjust
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    1. 2.1commute something for/into Change one kind of payment or obligation for (another)
      ‘tithes were commuted into an annual sum varying with the price of corn’
      • ‘Under these conditions, direct labor service duties were commuted for money payments.’
      • ‘These obligations were initially rendered in kind, in terms of labor or provisions, but were gradually commuted to cash contributions.’
      • ‘Although it was possible to commute this payment into cash, the payment was almost always made in the form of these arms.’
      • ‘The order is merely commuted to a money payment, although this may be enhanced as we shall see below.’
      • ‘During the 14th century landowners found it profitable to commute labour services for fixed cash payments.’
      • ‘Many of these men were probably employed in respect of lands who had commuted their military obligation for cash, although others were employed entirely in their own right.’
      • ‘Most of the head tenants and some of the under tenants held on condition of knight service, later commuted into a money payment in lieu of service called scutage.’
      • ‘Landlords had commuted most labor rents and rents in kind into contractual money rents by around 1600.’
      exchange, change, interchange, substitute, swap, trade, barter, switch
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    2. 2.2 Replace (an annuity or other series of payments) with a single payment.
      ‘if he had commuted some of his pension he would have received £330,000’
      • ‘If one commutes the pension to a lump sum, it is in general an eligible termination payment but it is not if one commutes it for the purpose of paying the surcharge.’
      • ‘He was invalided out of the Army, his marriage broke up and he commuted some of his pension entitlement for a cash sum to settle his divorce.’
      • ‘The trustee claimed to be entitled to elect under the policy to commute part of the annuity for a tax free lump sum.’
      • ‘The eligible termination payment once again includes circumstances where a person can commute a pension in whole or in part?’
      • ‘In the case of most corporate pension plans, members can commute part of their pension for a lump sum, which may well be tax-free.’
  • 3Mathematics
    no object (of two operations or quantities) have a commutative relation.

    ‘operators which do not commute with each other’
    • ‘In other words, simultaneous measurements can only be mutually compatible for observables corresponding to operators that commute with each other.’
    • ‘Formal properties of differential operators are studied in many of his contributions, in particular in his early papers he worked on commuting differential operators.’
    • ‘In fact, we will prove the slightly stronger result that any number of commuting square matrices with complex entries have a common eigenvector.’
    • ‘It is a mathematical theory that studies topology using matrices, using operators that don't commute with each another.’
    • ‘Column 2 is a variant of the model in column 1 with percentage commuting less than 10 km as the dependent variable.’


  • A regular journey of some distance to and from one's place of work.

    ‘the daily commute’
    • ‘My daily commute goes through Grand Central Station.’
    • ‘By bike, it's a 15 minute commute to the new place.’
    • ‘What's more, the new location meant a shorter average commute for employees.’
    • ‘Bob, who works in marketing, wanted a shorter commute to his office.’
    • ‘Her husband, a doctor, was tired of a lengthy commute to work.’
    • ‘Working parents often feel they have little alternative than to take the car, as they combine the school run with their daily commute.’
    • ‘She also lives in a village but commutes to Piccadilly Circus daily.’
    • ‘I've gone from a two-hour commute to enjoying a five-minute stroll to work.’
    • ‘The second is the transport revolution that has made the distance that people can cover in their daily commute greater by the decade.’
    • ‘This brilliant book helped turn my daily commute on the metro into an entirely pleasurable experience.’
    • ‘In the major cities 35% cited the daily commute to work as a major cause of stress with traffic jams the stress point for 48% of Leeds inhabitants.’
    • ‘It is not uncommon, workers said, for their daily commute to take three or four hours each way, most of it spent waiting in line for transportation.’
    • ‘The newspaper have just published a piece on him, which documents a daily commute to and from work on the amazing New York Subway.’
    • ‘Flexible working patterns mean many live too far away from work for a daily commute - they often want accommodation from Monday to Thursday night.’
    • ‘My daily commute takes me through two different states, one state being much lower in price due to lower taxes on gasoline.’
    • ‘On my daily commute, I have seen so many instances of bad driving by mobile phone users, from never indicating to slewing all over the road, that it is beyond all doubt that drivers using mobile phones are a menace.’
    • ‘One Monday morning I set off on my daily commute to work.’
    • ‘Coping with traffic jams and long commutes provides daily stress.’
    • ‘We first meet Irene on a subway train during her daily commute to work.’
    • ‘Teachers are so eager to work there some of those who were hired willingly make a daily commute of nearly four hours to come to work.’


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘interchange (two things’)): from Latin commutare, from com- ‘altogether’ + mutare ‘to change’. commute (sense 1 of the verb) originally meant to buy and use a commutation ticket, a US term for a season ticket (because the daily fare is commuted to a single payment).