Definition of permutation in English:



  • 1Each of several possible ways in which a set or number of things can be ordered or arranged.

    ‘his thoughts raced ahead to fifty different permutations of what he must do’
    • ‘With this scenario, the fragmented delegate count produces several possible permutations.’
    • ‘Clearly, the possible number of permutations is gigantic.’
    • ‘One example he gives is the number of permutations possible with 59 objects - only slightly more than a deck of cards.’
    • ‘Other permutations of the five cards can give different values for the longest increasing subsequence.’
    • ‘How does the counter generate the correct permutation of the binary numerals?’
    • ‘Ideally, we would list all possible permutations of the ESP matrix.’
    • ‘With so many different home loan permutations and cost factors to be taken into consideration, it's not surprising that many buyers are bewildered.’
    • ‘There are 16 different permutations for a possible World Series matchup this season.’
    • ‘This procedure is repeated until all possible permutations of experimental conditions to the data have been calculated.’
    • ‘Some of these parameters change rapidly, others very slowly, and the possible permutations are nearly infinite.’
    • ‘For example, there are six permutations of order of appearance for the three evolutionary splits mentioned above.’
    • ‘The possible permutations of the final four are intriguing.’
    • ‘Many other permutations of the alternatives presented are certainly possible.’
    • ‘Old insights are merely recycled in different permutations against a backdrop of current circumstances.’
    • ‘Now, since we're considering order, each of these combinations has a number of permutations.’
    • ‘In effect, each row is a permutation of four distinct numbers.’
    • ‘The possible permutations of ordering the seven stamps determined the need for 42 collages.’
    • ‘This procedure was repeated for 10 random permutations of trajectory orders.’
    • ‘I have seen the slogan in a hundred different permutations.’
    • ‘We will give a proof here, independent of Wilson's theorem, that all permutations are possible.’
    temperament, nature, character, constitution, make-up, grain, humour, temper, mentality, turn of mind
    arrangement, order, grouping, disposition, presentation, sorting, organization, combination, variation, transformation, transposition
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Mathematics mass noun The action of changing the arrangement, especially the linear order, of a set of items.
      • ‘A simple position permutation was also used to generate random sequences.’
      • ‘The statistical significance of this test is calculated by permutation.’
      • ‘All significance thresholds were determined empirically by permutation’
      • ‘The statistical significance of the values was estimated by permutation analysis using 1,000 replications.’
      • ‘Chromosome-wide significance thresholds were determined by permutation as previously described.’
    2. 1.2British A selection of a specified number of matches in a football pool.


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘exchange, barter’): via Old French from Latin permutatio(n-), from the verb permutare ‘change completely’ (see permute).