com·​mand | \ kə-ˈmand How to pronounce command (audio) \
commanded; commanding; commands

Essential Meaning of command

1 : to give (someone) an order : to tell (someone) to do something in a forceful and often official way She commanded us to leave. Military leaders commanded the troops to open fire. See More ExamplesShe commanded that work on the bridge cease immediately. We had no choice but to do as they commanded.Hide
2 : to have authority and control over (a group of people, such as soldiers) He commands a platoon of 60.
3 : to deserve or be able to get or receive (something) She has a reputation that commands attention/respect. [=people give her respect/attention because of her reputation] With his skills and experience, he can command a high salary.

Full Definition of command

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to direct authoritatively : order commanded adherence to the rules
2 : to exercise a dominating influence over : have command of: such as
a : to have at one's immediate disposal commands many resources
b : to demand or receive as one's due commands a high fee
c : to overlook or dominate from or as if from a strategic position a hill that commands the city
d : to have military command of as senior officer command a regiment
3 obsolete : to order or request to be given

intransitive verb

1 : to have or exercise direct authority : govern a leader who knows how to command well
2 : to give orders Rob seldom commanded, but when he did Master Ted had to give in.— Louisa May Alcott
3 : to be commander The general will command at the western front.
4 : to dominate as if from an elevated place



Definition of command (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : an order given The command was to hold fire.
b(1) : a signal that actuates a device (such as a control mechanism in a spacecraft or one step in a computer)
(2) : the activation of a device by means of such a signal
(3) : a line of code (see code entry 1 sense 5) instructing a computer to send such a signal
2a : the ability to control : mastery She was in command of her emotions.
b : the authority or right to command the officer in command
c(1) : the power to dominate The fort has command of the valley.
(2) : scope of vision The tower provides a wide command of the neighboring hills.
d : facility in use a good command of French
e : control sense 1d a pitcher with good command of his curveball
3 : the act of commanding The troops will charge at command.
4 : the personnel, area, or organization under a commander specifically : a unit of the U.S. Air Force higher than an air force
5 : a position of highest usually military authority He was relieved of his command after being charged with misconduct.
on command
: when an order is given : in response to a command a dog trained to attack on command



Definition of command (Entry 3 of 3)

: done on command or request a command performance

Other Words from command


commandable \ kə-​ˈman-​də-​bəl How to pronounce command (audio) \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for command


command, order, bid, enjoin, direct, instruct, charge mean to issue orders. command and order imply authority and usually some degree of formality and impersonality. command stresses official exercise of authority. a general commanding troops order may suggest peremptory or arbitrary exercise. ordered his employees about bid suggests giving orders peremptorily (as to children or servants). she bade him be seated enjoin implies giving an order or direction authoritatively and urgently and often with admonition or solicitude. a sign enjoining patrons to be quiet direct and instruct both connote expectation of obedience and usually concern specific points of procedure or method, instruct sometimes implying greater explicitness or formality. directed her assistant to hold all calls the judge instructed the jury to ignore the remark charge adds to enjoin an implication of imposing as a duty or responsibility. charged by the President with a secret mission


power, authority, jurisdiction, control, command, sway, dominion mean the right to govern or rule or determine. power implies possession of ability to wield force, authority, or influence. the power to mold public opinion authority implies power for a specific purpose within specified limits. granted the authority to manage her estate jurisdiction applies to official power exercised within prescribed limits. the bureau having jurisdiction over parks control stresses the power to direct and restrain. you are responsible for the students under your control command implies the power to make arbitrary decisions and compel obedience. the army officer in command sway suggests the extent of exercised power or influence. the empire extended its sway over the region dominion stresses sovereign power or supreme authority. given dominion over all the animals

Examples of command in a Sentence

Verb She commanded us to leave. Military leaders commanded the troops to open fire. She commanded that work on the bridge cease immediately. We had no choice but to do as they commanded. He commands a platoon of 60. With his skills and experience, he can command a high salary. The company commands much power and influence in the business world. Noun We are expected to obey his commands. She shouted out commands to the crew. We started to teach the dog simple commands like “sit” and “lie down.” You can perform several actions with keyboard commands. The system recognizes voice commands. He was relieved of his command after being charged with misconduct. Who is the officer in command of the unit? I assumed command of the business after my father's death. He immediately took command of the situation. He finally felt in command of his life.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb A few decades later, two scientists in Pennsylvania decided to pursue what seemed like a pipe dream: using the molecule to command cells to make tiny pieces of viruses that would strengthen the immune system. New York Times, 15 Jan. 2022 What the Fed doesn’t want to see is an environment where wage increases are pushing prices significantly higher, while a tight labor market and expectations of higher inflation are leading workers to command outsize wage increases. Justin Lahart, WSJ, 12 Jan. 2022 Justin Bieber’s custom Rolls-Royce Wraith continued to command our audience’s attention, as did Tom Brady’s luxe 77-foot flagship. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 31 Dec. 2021 White migrant advocates seem to automatically command respect from locals in Reynosa. Los Angeles Times, 27 Dec. 2021 Consumers’ preference for checking out through the marketplace will lead the vertical to command an even larger share of eCommerce. Gary Drenik, Forbes, 21 Dec. 2021 Some people view AVAs as marketing tools created to command higher prices for wine. Michael Alberty | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 18 Dec. 2021 Alspach said the gifts, one of which was large enough to command naming rights for the Maria Manetti Shrem Community Garden, mostly came from individuals. Sam Whiting, San Francisco Chronicle, 26 Nov. 2021 The increased market power could lead food delivery companies to command higher fees from customers or restaurants. Michelle Cheng, Quartz, 10 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The command last year signed similar agreements with SpaceX and with Exploration Architecture Corporation. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, 7 Jan. 2022 If confirmed by the Senate, Kurilla would replace Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, who has led the command for the past three years and is expected to retire. Lolita C. Baldor, ajc, 6 Jan. 2022 If confirmed by the Senate, Gen. Kurilla would succeed Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, who has led the command since March 2019 and whose tenure is slated to end April 1. Gordon Lubold, WSJ, 6 Jan. 2022 In-room, guests have the option to select from size-inclusive bathrobes and play a curated selection of music from the hotels soundWAVE program featuring a playlist of Orlando’s leading LGBTQ+ DJs via the voice command. Kimberly Wilson, Essence, 4 Jan. 2022 The past year brought plenty of changes to the crime fight in Baltimore, with a new mayor, stability in the police command, and new efforts to heal the trauma of gun violence and free up officers to catch the men who pull the triggers. Tim Prudente,, 1 Jan. 2022 But perhaps the command in this situation was indeed detailed. Rabbi Avi Weiss,, 28 Dec. 2021 But skeptics say that this is partly bluster and that the Ukrainian command could hardly count on a flood of veterans becoming insurgents., 26 Dec. 2021 But the technological command and the cleverness on display in the colossal fight scenes also undercut their dramatic significance, as do the over-the-top theatrics that tip into the facetious. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 24 Dec. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective An upcoming marksmanship exercise for early-August was also canceled, as were a pre-command course, firearms training for soldiers who need to improve their marksmanship, and more. Oren Liebermann, CNN, 23 July 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'command.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of command


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1826, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for command


Middle English comanden, from Anglo-French cumander, from Vulgar Latin *commandare, alteration of Latin commendare to commit to one's charge — more at commend

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Time Traveler for command

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The first known use of command was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

22 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Command.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for command


com·​mand | \ kə-ˈmand How to pronounce command (audio) \
commanded; commanding

Kids Definition of command

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to order with authority The king commanded them to leave.
2 : to have power or control over : be commander of He commands an army.
3 : to demand as right or due : exact A piano teacher commands a high fee.
4 : to survey from a good position The fort is on a hill that commands a view of the city.



Kids Definition of command (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an order given Obey her command.
2 : the authority, right, or power to command : control The troops are under my command.
3 : the ability to control and use : mastery She has a good command of the language.
4 : the people, area, or unit (as of soldiers and weapons) under a commander
5 : a position from which military operations are directed

More from Merriam-Webster on command

Nglish: Translation of command for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of command for Arabic Speakers


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