/kom'yeuh tay"sheuhn/, n.1. the act of substituting one thing for another; substitution; exchange.2. the changing of a prison sentence or other penalty to another less severe.3. the act of commuting, as to and from a place of work.4. the substitution of one kind of payment for another.5. Elect. the act or process of commutating.6. Also called commutation test. Ling. the technique, esp. in phonological analysis, of substituting one linguistic item for another while keeping the surrounding elements constant, used as a means of determining the constituent units in a sequence and their contrasts with other units.[1400-50; late ME commutacioun < L commutation- (s. of commutatio) change. See COMMUTE, -ATION]
* * *▪ lawin law, shortening of a term of punishment or lowering of the level of punishment. For example, a 10-year jail sentence may be commuted to 5 years, or a sentence of death may be commuted to life in prison. Often, after a person has served part of his sentence, the remainder is commuted owing to specific circumstances. Commutation of sentence differs from pardon, which, if unconditional, removes the stigma both of the court decision and of the punishment and restores the person's civil rights; commutation does neither. Commutation is also distinguished from reprieve, which merely delays or temporarily suspends the sentence.
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