Etymology
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commutator (n.)

1839, "apparatus for reversing the currents from a battery without rearranging the conductors," agent noun from Latin commutare (see commute (v.)). From 1880 as "contrivance for varying the strength of an electric current."

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Definitions of commutator

commutator (n.)
switch for reversing the direction of an electric current;
From wordnet.princeton.edu