Definition of commute in US English:



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

    ‘she commuted from Westport in to Grand Central Station’
    • ‘Many people spend much of their working week travelling in cars, trains, etc. commuting to and from their places of employment.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A significant number of people commute daily to London, offset by commuters into Brighton and Hove from the surrounding county.’
    • ‘If people are commuting to urban areas, we need to make sure they are participating in the communities they are living in.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We are also looking at people travelling, commuting to Dublin to ascertain the traffic flows, he said.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘After spending five months commuting weekly to London, she accepted a temporary post at in Birmingham and there covered regional news programmes and documentaries.’
    • ‘He has been commuting to London on a weekly basis for four years.’
    • ‘But many Japanese suffer from the distances they commute to work.’
    • ‘Do you commute to work or spend a lot of time travelling to meetings and conferences?’
    • ‘Hundreds commute on a daily basis from my constituency to the capital.’
    • ‘Claire, a student radiographer who commutes regularly between Skipton and Bradford, found the trains to be very unreliable.’
    • ‘Twenty-five years ago very few people were commuting to Galway from South Mayo on a daily basis to work.’
    • ‘An estimated 37,000 people regularly commute to the Swindon area, of which 23,000 make the journey on a daily basis.’
    • ‘It is just not realistic to expect urban workers to commute long distances on a daily basis to reach their place of work.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I personally think that is an excellent idea, it cuts down players travelling and also makes commuting for supporters easier.’
    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 one less severe.

    ‘he commuted the sentences of hundreds of convicts’
    • ‘Judges gave no reason for commuting the death sentence on him and the acquittal of the others.’
    • ‘The death sentences were commuted to prison sentences and all the men were out of prison by the end of 1956.’
    • ‘But the Supreme Court sympathetically commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment.’
    • ‘After thorough consideration, the Governor commuted the death sentences for two of the defendants to life in prison.’
    • ‘Part of the Commission's duty was to advise the Governor on the desirability of releasing convicts or commuting their sentence.’
    • ‘Earlier this year, the outgoing governor of Illinois commuted the sentences of all 167 inmates on the state's death row.’
    • ‘After five years in an Iraqi dungeon, his death sentence was commuted to permanent exile.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This death sentence was later commuted to life in prison.’
    • ‘Some states also limit the governor's power to commute sentences and pardon convicted criminals.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In the 1980s he confessed to hundreds of killings but later retracted these confessions and his death sentence was recently commuted to life imprisonment.’
    • ‘When they were condemned to gather firewood from hills, their punishment could be commuted to a payment of 300 coins per month.’
    • ‘Suspended death sentences usually are commuted later to long prison terms.’
    • ‘His death sentence was commuted to one of life imprisonment by the Georgia governor who expressed doubts about Frank's guilt.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘You see, the Governor can commute a death sentence.’
    • ‘A death sentence was commuted to life in prison, then cut to ten years.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Her death sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment.’
    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).
      • ‘During the 14th century landowners found it profitable to commute labour services for fixed cash payments.’
      • ‘Landlords had commuted most labor rents and rents in kind into contractual money rents by around 1600.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The order is merely commuted to a money payment, although this may be enhanced as we shall see below.’
      • ‘Under these conditions, direct labor service duties were commuted for money 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.’
      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.’
      • ‘The trustee claimed to be entitled to elect under the policy to commute part of the annuity for a tax free lump sum.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The eligible termination payment once again includes circumstances where a person can commute a pension in whole or in part?’
  • 3Mathematics
    no object (of two operations or quantities) have a commutative relationship.

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


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

    • ‘What's more, the new location meant a shorter average commute for employees.’
    • ‘I've gone from a two-hour commute to enjoying a five-minute stroll to work.’
    • ‘This brilliant book helped turn my daily commute on the metro into an entirely pleasurable experience.’
    • ‘Bob, who works in marketing, wanted a shorter commute to his office.’
    • ‘Her husband, a doctor, was tired of a lengthy commute to work.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Flexible working patterns mean many live too far away from work for a daily commute - they often want accommodation from Monday to Thursday night.’
    • ‘Working parents often feel they have little alternative than to take the car, as they combine the school run with their daily commute.’
    • ‘By bike, it's a 15 minute commute to the new place.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The second is the transport revolution that has made the distance that people can cover in their daily commute greater by the decade.’
    • ‘One Monday morning I set off on my daily commute to work.’
    • ‘Coping with traffic jams and long commutes provides daily stress.’
    • ‘My daily commute goes through Grand Central Station.’
    • ‘My daily commute takes me through two different states, one state being much lower in price due to lower taxes on gasoline.’
    • ‘The newspaper have just published a piece on him, which documents a daily commute to and from work on the amazing New York Subway.’
    • ‘She also lives in a village but commutes to Piccadilly Circus daily.’
    • ‘We first meet Irene on a subway train during her daily commute 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).