The word commuted has multiple meanings (the arcane one being) - reduction in a judicial sentence. Heretofore, I thought it only meant travelled (from one place to the other).

I am looking for examples of the word "commuted" being used in different sentences which give an understanding of each of its meaning.

closed as off-topic by JeffSahol, MetaEd, tchrist, p.s.w.g, James McLeod Jul 31 '13 at 21:57

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The word commute in the sense of "travelling to and from work" actually has the same origin as the other senses of the word. Commute broadly means "to change to something less severe", so a death sentence is commuted to life imprisonment.

The usage of commute to mean travel goes back to the 1840s:

The term “commute” derives from its original meaning of “to change to another less severe.” In the eighteen-forties, the men who rode the railways each day from newly established suburbs to work in the cities did so at a reduced rate. The railroad, in other words, commuted their fares, in exchange for reliable ridership (as it still does, if you consider the monthly pass). In time, the commuted became commuters. In New York, and in cities like Philadelphia, Boston, and Chicago, railways begat reachable and desirable suburbs, so that, by the time the automobile came along, patterns of development, and a calculus of class and status, had already been established. -- There and Back Again, New Yorker, April 16, 2007

From etymonline.com:

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"

A traveller would buy a commutation ticket - one which was commuted from a higher to a lower price. As they commuted their tickets, so they became commuters. Once cars were invented, the term commuter came to mean anyone who travels regularly.


The word commute can be used as both a noun and a verb. I'll write out a few sentences using the word and explain its definition in each case.

The death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.

In this case, commute is used in the judicial sense. The penalty is reduced to a less severe one. Commute is used as a transitive verb.

Robin Sparkles commuted to the mall.

Here, Robin Sparkles travels to the mall. Commute is used as an intransitive verb.

Alchemists were once said to be able to commute basic metals to gold.

In this sentence, commute means to substitute. It is an intransitive verb.

The commute to work every morning is a joyous experience.

Finally, commute is used as the act or instance of commuting. It's used as a noun.

See the definition of commute.

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