[ kuh-myoot ]
See synonyms for: commutecommuting on

verb (used with object),com·mut·ed, com·mut·ing.
  1. to change (a prison sentence or other penalty) to a less severe one: The death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.

  2. to exchange for another or for something else; give and take reciprocally; interchange.

  1. to change: to commute base metal into gold.

  2. to change (one kind of payment) into or for another, as by substitution.

verb (used without object),com·mut·ed, com·mut·ing.
  1. to travel regularly over some distance, as from a suburb into a city and back: He commutes to work by train.

  2. to make substitution.

  1. to serve as a substitute.

  2. to make a collective payment, especially of a reduced amount, as an equivalent for a number of payments.

  3. Mathematics. to give the same result whether operating on the left or on the right.

  1. a trip made by commuting: It's a long commute from his home to his office.

  2. an act or instance of commuting.

Origin of commute

First recorded in 1400–50, and in 1885–90 for def. 5; late Middle English, from Latin commūtāre “to change, replace, exchange,” equivalent to com- “with, together” (see com-) + mūtāre “to change”

Other words from commute

  • un·com·mut·ed, adjective

Words that may be confused with commute

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

How to use commute in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for commute


/ (kəˈmjuːt) /

  1. (intr) to travel some distance regularly between one's home and one's place of work

  2. (tr) to substitute; exchange

  1. (tr) law to reduce (a sentence) to one less severe

  2. to pay (an annuity) at one time, esp with a discount, instead of in instalments

  3. (tr) to transform; change: to commute base metal into gold

  4. (intr) to act as or be a substitute

  5. (intr) to make a substitution; change

  1. a journey made by commuting

Origin of commute

C17: from Latin commutāre to replace, from com- mutually + mutāre to change

Derived forms of commute

  • commutable, adjective
  • commutability or commutableness, noun

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 commute


[ kə-myōōt ]

  1. To yield the same result regardless of order. For example, numbers commute under addition, which is a commutative operation. Generally, any two operators H and G commute if their commutator is zero, i.e. HG - GH = 0.

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