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

Charles Hodges commanded the more than 35 Americans on site. Anna Werner, CBS News, "New video of Thai cave rescue shows just how close divers came to disaster," 11 July 2018 Police say Wilson head-butted and attacked McKoan as an officer who just got the scene commanded him to stop, the news station reported. Crystal Hill, miamiherald, "A brawl broke out. 2 police officers kept their ‘cool’ while getting attacked, Louisiana authorities say," 20 June 2018 One worm, however, will takeover an ant’s brain, commanding it to essential seek death. Laura Yan, Popular Mechanics, "These Brain Worms Turn Ants Into Death-Seeking Zombies," 10 June 2018 The biggest surprise of the hour was Maeve, communicating with Akecheta in her wounded and subdued state, commanding him to protect her daughter. The Atlantic, "Westworld: Ghost Nation, Revealed," 10 June 2018 The drug commands more than half the market and is suspected of being too aggressively promoted, delaying the market entry of generic rivals, and of being overprescribed by some doctors. Ed Silverman, STAT, "Pharmalittle: Antibiotic shortages putting patients at risk; EMA fears staff losses as HQ move nears," 1 June 2018 Those services will command higher prices under high VRE, especially high solar, drawing more competitors into those markets (a good thing for storage). David Roberts, Vox, "Wind and solar are coming. Grid managers need to get ready.," 18 May 2018 There's all kinds of Scripture (passages) in which Jesus commands us to love one another. Tim Funk, charlotteobserver, "Will views on same-sex marriage split one of America's largest Protestant religions? | Charlotte Observer," 17 May 2018 The push and pull of human progress, to harness or command natural power, seemed to be the only thing in abundance in this environment. Alex Wilson, Outside Online, "Kelly Slater's Wave Pool Is the Future. And It's Bleak.," 7 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Before retreating from its urban strongholds, Islamic State decentralized its command structure, set up sleeper cells, and dug tunnels in the vast desert that spans the two countries. Nancy A. Youssef, WSJ, "ISIS Remnants Fight On, Despite U.S. Campaign," 9 July 2018 Within months of taking command, MacArthur – a World War II hero – had halted and outflanked the North Korean invaders, driving them back to the border with China. CBS News, "Almanac: Gen. Douglas MacArthur," 8 July 2018 Croatia Settling In Both teams a bit stunned by the rapid fire goals, but Croatia is starting to take command of the ball. Victor Mather, New York Times, "Shootout Sunday: Croatia Follows Russia’s Lead and Wins on Penalty Kicks," 3 July 2018 Williams will take command as the academy’s 60th superintendent during a ceremony Monday morning in West Point’s Jefferson Hall. Niki Mcgloster,, "Meet West Point’s First Black Superintendent In 216 Years," 2 July 2018 Take total command of your video controls with Filmic Pro ($15), a favorite app of iPhone auteurs. Arielle Pardes, WIRED, "Gadgets to Help You Shoot Pro-Quality Movies on Your iPhone," 1 July 2018 Rafael Nadal needed less than a set to take command of the French Open final and overcame a late problem with his racket-holding hand to earn a record-extending 11th championship at Roland Garros by beating Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 on Sunday. Howard Fendrich,, "Rafael Nadal beats Dominic Thiem to win record-extending 11th French Open title," 10 June 2018 Hebard and her teammates took command early in both games. Beth Bragg, Anchorage Daily News, "Hebard off to good start at 3-on-3 world basketball championships," 9 June 2018 Iran, in conjunction with the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, now operates a network of militias recruiting from across the Mideast to fight on Assad’s behalf and maintains a command structure separate from the Syrian government. Philip Issa,, "Syria’s Assad threatens to attack area under US-backed Kurds," 1 June 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

13 Sep 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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