[ kuh-myoo-tuh-tiv, kom-yuh-tey-tiv ]
See synonyms for commutative on
  1. of or relating to commutation, exchange, substitution, or interchange.

  2. Mathematics.

    • (of a binary operation) having the property that one term operating on a second is equal to the second operating on the first, as a × b = b × a.

    • having reference to this property: commutative law for multiplication.

Origin of commutative

1525–35; <Medieval Latin commūtātīvus, equivalent to Latin commūtāt(us) (past participle of commūtāre;see commute, -ate1) + -īvus-ive

Other words from commutative

  • com·mu·ta·tive·ly, adverb
  • com·mu·ta·tiv·i·ty, noun
  • non·com·mu·ta·tive, adjective
  • un·com·mu·ta·tive, adjective
  • un·com·mu·ta·tive·ly, adverb
  • un·com·mu·ta·tive·ness, noun

Words Nearby commutative Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use commutative in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for commutative


/ (kəˈmjuːtətɪv, ˈkɒmjʊˌteɪtɪv) /

  1. relating to or involving substitution

  2. maths logic

    • (of an operator) giving the same result irrespective of the order of the arguments; thus disjunction and addition are commutative but implication and subtraction are not

    • relating to this property: the commutative law of addition

Derived forms of commutative

  • commutatively, adverb

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for commutative


[ kə-myōōtə-tĭv, kŏmyə-tā′tĭv ]

  1. Of or relating to binary operations for which changing the order of the inputs does not change the result of the operation. For example, addition is commutative, since a + b = b + a for any two numbers a and b, while subtraction is not commutative, since a - ba - b unless both a and b are zero. See also associative distributive.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.