com·​mand | \kə-ˈmand \
commanded; commanding; commands

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 The king knows how to command well.

2 : to give orders The master commands, and the servants obey.

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. a dog trained to attack on command [=in response to a command]

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.



Definition of command (Entry 3 of 3)

: done on command or request a command performance

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Other Words from command


commandable \ kə-​ˈman-​də-​bəl \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for command

Synonyms: Verb

adjure, bid, boss (around), charge, direct, enjoin, instruct, order, tell

Synonyms: Noun

arm, authority, clutch, control, death grip, dominion, grip, hold, mastery, power, reign, rein(s), sway

Antonyms: Verb

mind, obey

Antonyms: Noun

impotence, impotency, powerlessness

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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 like slaves 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


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.


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

That gave the Knights a 4-2 lead with Jackson Mandella in the midst of a commanding performance on the mound. Mark Stewart, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "WIAA baseball: Down to his last strike, Joe Seymour delivers for Germantown," 11 July 2018 France won its only World Cup 20 years ago, thanks to a commanding goalkeeper — Fabien Barthez — protected by a rock-solid defense which also chipped in with goals. Jerome Pugmire, The Seattle Times, "Superb defense takes France close to another World Cup title," 10 July 2018 Morrisey delivered a commanding win in June and certainly has time to change the race, but is so far running at a distinct disadvantage. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Power Rankings: Not so peachy primaries," 9 July 2018 Most of the collection was built around a commanding structured jacket with typical '80s Mugler exaggerated shoulders (which originally came from the '40s). Roxanne Robinson, The Hollywood Reporter, "Alexandre Vauthier Shows "Super Parisian" Couture Collection," 3 July 2018 The first-year Pacer spoke potently, with the commanding tone and tenor of a captain. Matthew Vantryon, Indianapolis Star, "One year ago, the Victor Oladipo trade happened. Here's how he gave Pacers fans hope again.," 29 June 2018 Brazil produced a commanding display to dismiss Serbia 2-0 and launch itself into the round of 16. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "Brazil Is Rounding Into Form at Just the Right Time," 27 June 2018 Dixon Machado would clear the bases in the bottom of third with a two-run triple to take a commanding 6-0 lead. George Stoia, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers lose big lead, fall to Oakland Athletics, 9-7," 26 June 2018 The Sagamore Resort, Bolton Landing, New York Set on a 70-acre island in upstate New York, the Sagamore's 95,000-gallon infinity pool offers commanding panoramic views of Lake George. Jenna Gottlieb, Vogue, "The Hottest Hotel Pools to Cool Down In This Summer," 21 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The son, Lon Rith, is now based in Philadelphia but returns to Cambodia sporadically to run in elections, although his command of the language is imperfect. Julia Wallace, New York Times, "‘Fireflies’ and ‘Ghosts’ in Cambodia Prop Up Facade of Real Election," 11 July 2018 The head of the police union has said Blevins ignored commands to drop the gun and pulled it out before the officers fired. Youssef Rddad, The Seattle Times, "Family: Minneapolis police shooting not justified as man ran," 9 July 2018 In a press release issued the day of the shooting, the Sheriff's Department said Mikel McIntyre ignored the responding officer's verbal commands and walked away. Marcos Breton And Anita Chabria, sacbee, "Sheriff's deputies shot her son in the back a year ago. Now she is suing for answers," 26 June 2018 Hughes ignored officers' commands to stop at the intersection. Lainey Seyler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The Milwaukee cyclist who emptied a suspicious package into the street has been charged," 4 June 2018 Estrada reportedly ignored commands to get off the much smaller, female detective, so her partner fired several times, killing Estrada. Fox News, "Detective fatally shoots child porn suspect during attack," 1 June 2018 Police said Tilson repeatedly ignored commands and fought with officers during the arrest. Raisa Habersham, ajc, "Autopsy results revealed in Rockdale County inmate’s death," 23 May 2018 Authorities say Helton ignored commands to drop his weapon and ran down a nearby stairwell that led to a nearby Econo Lodge parking lot., "Man shot by police in Erlanger charged with attempted murder," 3 May 2018 Meanwhile, Detective Francisco Lopez repeatedly told Perez to wait to reach into the glove box to retrieve his registration until police finished escorting Vazquez, but Perez ignored the commands, according to the report. Travis Andersen,, "Brockton man allegedly threatens to kill detective ‘with my bare hands’ during struggle with officers," 3 May 2018

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


15th 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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Statistics for command

Last Updated

8 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for command

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

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More Definitions for command



English Language Learners Definition of command

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to give (someone) an order : to tell (someone) to do something in a forceful and often official way

: to have authority and control over (a group of people, such as soldiers)

: to deserve or be able to get or receive (something)



English Language Learners Definition of command (Entry 2 of 2)

: an order given to a person or animal to do something

: an instruction in the form of a code or signal that tells a computer to do something

: the power that someone (such as a military officer) has to give orders and to control a group of people


com·​mand | \kə-ˈmand \
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

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Comments on command

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full of whispering sounds

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