verb (used with object), com·mut·ed, com·mut·ing.

verb (used without object), com·mut·ed, com·mut·ing.


a trip made by commuting: It's a long commute from his home to his office.
an act or instance of commuting.

Origin of commute

1400–50; 1885–90 for def 5; late Middle English < Latin commūtāre to change, replace, exchange, equivalent to com- com- + mūtāre to change
Related formsun·com·mut·ed, adjective
Can be confusedcommute forgive pardon (see synonym study at pardon) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for commute

Contemporary Examples of commute

Historical Examples of commute

  • Will you be her true natural father, or shall I commute paternity?

    Maid Marian

    Thomas Love Peacock

  • The Governor refuses him a pardon, nor will he commute my son's sentence.

  • It is evident that the man who passed the sentence could commute it, he said.

    The Dust of Conflict

    David Goodger (

  • He seemed at times to be asking God to commute these penalties.

    Les Misrables

    Victor Hugo

  • At the same time, he held out very little hope that anything could be done to commute the sentence.

    The Great War As I Saw It

    Frederick George Scott

British Dictionary definitions for commute



(intr) to travel some distance regularly between one's home and one's place of work
(tr) to substitute; exchange
(tr) law to reduce (a sentence) to one less severe
to pay (an annuity) at one time, esp with a discount, instead of in instalments
(tr) to transform; changeto commute base metal into gold
(intr) to act as or be a substitute
(intr) to make a substitution; change


a journey made by commuting
Derived Formscommutable, adjectivecommutability or commutableness, noun

Word Origin for commute

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

Word Origin and History for commute

mid-15c., "to change, transform," from Latin commutare "to often change, to change altogether," from com-, intensive prefix (see com-), + mutare "to change" (see mutable). Sense of "make less severe" is 1630s. Sense of "go back and forth to work" is 1889, from commutation ticket "season pass" (on a railroad, streetcar line, etc.), from commute in its sense of "to change one kind of payment into another" (1795), especially "to combine a number of payments into a single one." Related: Commuted; commuting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for commute



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.