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

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Other Words from command


commandable \ kə-​ˈman-​də-​bəl How to pronounce commandable (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 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

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 Since 2007, the United States military has said that Iran, and specifically the Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force, commanded by General Suleimani, provided Iraqi militias with the projectile weapons and the training needed to use them. New York Times, "‘I Lost My Legs’: Wounded in Iraq, He Sued Iran," 12 Jan. 2020 McMillan found the back of the net again four minutes after that off of an assist from Nolan to give the Bears a commanding five-goal lead. Shawn Mcfarland,, "Class M girls soccer: Nolan, McMillan each score twice as top-seeded Granby beats Plainfield 6-1," 23 Nov. 2019 He’s seen his commanding lead in national polls slowly erode as Democratic voters get to know some of his rivals. Josh Wingrove,, "Ukraine Row Pits Trump Against Biden in 2020 Election Narrative," 22 Sep. 2019 Now, does that stink for a guy that's 86 to 88 and can really command it? Tom Verducci,, "Walker Buehler Has the Arm, Arsenal and Attitude to Be a Star," 13 Aug. 2019 All three astronauts assigned to the first Starliner crew were at control centers for the launch: Mike Fincke and Nicole Mann, both with NASA, and Boeing's Chris Ferguson, who commanded the last shuttle mission. Marcia Dunn, Anchorage Daily News, "Boeing’s Starliner capsule veers off course in orbital debut, won’t dock at space station," 20 Dec. 2019 All three astronauts assigned to the first Starliner crew were at control centers for the launch: Mike Fincke and Nicole Mann, both with NASA, and Boeing's Chris Ferguson, who commanded the last shuttle mission. Arkansas Online, "Boeing capsule launches to wrong orbit, skips space station," 20 Dec. 2019 In the seven-on-seven drill, a session customarily commanded by speedy wide receivers and quarterbacks operating without the hindrance of a pass rush, a tight end stands out among the crowd. Shelby Dermer,, "Covington Catholic's Michael Mayer a 'can't-miss player' for Notre Dame football," 18 Dec. 2019 Howard is a buffoon, but a remarkably compelling one, who commands sympathy even as his gambling addiction and his refusal to compromise draws him into darker and darker places. David Sims, The Atlantic, "The Gritty, Spellbinding Tragedy of Uncut Gems," 12 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Unfortunately, a flaw in the programming may allow hackers to break into a Windows 10 computer using Cortana's voice commands, even while it's locked. Kim Komando, USA TODAY, "7 Windows 10 fixes you’ll wish you knew sooner," 31 Dec. 2019 All of the great ones have uncanny vision, court sense, command, the ability to turn roadblocks into red carpets. Bruce Jenkins,, "Luka Doncic, the NBA’s next transformative star, to make Chase Center debut," 27 Dec. 2019 Yardley pitches from a low side-arm delivery and does not throw hard but has good command and induces ground balls. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers hire Jacob Cruz as assistant hitting coach, move Jason Lane to first-base duties," 15 Nov. 2019 The bottom-up financing of the administration subverts the usual hierarchical command-and-control mode of operation. Kristof Titeca, Quartz Africa, "Failed state? How the DRC continues to deliver public services," 25 Sep. 2019 That way, a light bulb listening for an on/off command would get a fraction of the spectrum than, say, esports streaming on a game console. Mike Feibus, USA TODAY, "Putting Wi-Fi 6 to the test: How fast can it speed up your home devices?," 19 Dec. 2019 CBS News' David Begnaud reported Saturday night that the U.S. military's northern command is telling all military bases to increase security checks after Friday's attack. CBS News, "Navy base gunman reportedly watched mass shooting videos before deadly rampage," 8 Dec. 2019 In April 2012, according to, former Bound Brook High School baseball player Jake Mesar, now 22, slid into third base on Suk’s command during a junior varsity game and immediately suffered an injury to his ankle. Helen Murphy,, "High School Baseball Coach Found Not Liable After Being Sued by Player Who Hurt Knee While Sliding," 3 Dec. 2019 Despite being one of the hardest throwers in baseball, Guerrero’s command and secondary pitches have been issues. Wells Dusenbury,, "Marlins acquire infielder Jonathan Villar; designate JT Riddle, Tayron Guerrero," 2 Dec. 2019

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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Learn More about command

Time Traveler for command

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for command

Last Updated

18 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Command.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 18 January 2020.

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More Definitions for command


How to pronounce command (audio)

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 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on command

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for command

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with command

Spanish Central: Translation of command

Nglish: Translation of command for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of command for Arabic Speakers

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