[ pur-myoo-tey-shuhn ]
/ ˌpɜr myʊˈteɪ ʃən /
Save This Word!

the act of permuting or permutating; alteration; transformation.
  1. the act of changing the order of elements arranged in a particular order, as abc into acb, bac, etc., or of arranging a number of elements in groups made up of equal numbers of the elements in different orders, as a and b in ab and ba; a one-to-one transformation of a set with a finite number of elements.
  2. any of the resulting arrangements or groups.Compare combination (def. 8b).
Were you ready for a quiz on this topic? Well, here it is! See how well you can differentiate between the uses of "was" vs. "were" in this quiz.
Question 1 of 7
“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

Origin of permutation

1325–75; Middle English permutacioun (<Middle French permutacion) <Latin permūtātiōn- (stem of permūtātiō) thoroughgoing change. See per-, mutation, permute

OTHER WORDS FROM permutation

per·mu·ta·tion·al, adjectiveper·mu·ta·tion·ist, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use permutation in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for permutation

/ (ˌpɜːmjʊˈteɪʃən) /

  1. an ordered arrangement of the numbers, terms, etc, of a set into specified groupsthe permutations of a, b, and c, taken two at a time, are ab, ba, ac, ca, bc, cb
  2. a group formed in this way. The number of permutations of n objects taken r at a time is n !/(nr)!Symbol: n P r Compare combination (def. 6)
a combination of items made by reordering
an alteration; transformation
a fixed combination for selections of results on football poolsUsually shortened to: perm

Derived forms of permutation

permutational, adjective

Word Origin for permutation

C14: from Latin permūtātiō, from permūtāre to change thoroughly; see mutation
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