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

Tehran is now believed to command up to 80,000 fighters in Syria — members of Shiite militias and paramilitary forces loyal to Iran. Washington Post, "Analysis: Iran role in Syria key item at Trump-Putin summit," 13 July 2018 There will be a money crunch in the NBA this summer, and that could inhibit Gordon’s ability to command his hoped-for salary. Josh Robbins,, "Aaron Gordon says he’ll do his ‘due diligence’ in restricted free agency," 29 June 2018 So, the trick is not to command your dog to stop growling, but to change what’s happening in his surroundings that triggers the behavior. Cathy M. Rosenthal,, "Pet World: Helping A Small, Overprotective Dog Feel At Ease," 29 June 2018 Whitson was the first woman to command the International Space Station, holding the position twice, and the oldest woman ever to fly in space. NBC News, "Peggy Whitson, NASA's record-breaking spacewoman, retires as astronaut," 16 June 2018 XXXTentacion, 6ix9ine, Famous Dex, YoungBoy Never Broke Again and many more prominent artists all have troubling pasts involving alleged violence against women, yet continue to command chart success -- possibly because of it. Tatiana Cirisano, Billboard, "As Nas Readies His New Kanye-Produced Album, Why Aren't More People Talking About His Alleged Abuse?," 14 June 2018 Too often, leaders mistake vulnerability with weakness, and often resort to a more one-dimensional power position in efforts to command respect. Glenda Mcneal, Time, "The Boss: Lessons From My Childhood Helped Me Ascend the Ranks at American Express," 13 June 2018 The series revolves around Emma Green, an American astronaut who must leave her husband and teenage daughter behind in order to command an international space crew embarking upon a treacherous, yearlong mission. Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "Jason Katims Space Drama Ordered to Series at Netflix," 10 June 2018 Texans with the 49th Armored Division were the first National Guard unit to command multinational troops in Bosnia 17 years ago, and later served multiple times in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sig Christenson, San Antonio Express-News, "Another day, another war for Texas Guard," 16 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

France formally pulled out of the group’s military command in the 1960s, angering the U.S., and then rejoined again in 2009. John Fritze, USA TODAY, "What is NATO and why is Donald Trump slamming it?," 12 July 2018 Getting a voice assistant to hear and understand a command is still dicey under the best of circumstances. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "Driving Without a Smartphone," 10 July 2018 Left-hander Patrick Corbin did not have good command. Nick Piecoro, azcentral, "David Peralta’s blast lifts Diamondbacks past Rockies," 10 July 2018 Flexen, making his first big league start since last September, struggled with command early. Jeffrey Metallo,, "Nathan Eovaldi flirts with perfection as Rays blast Mets 9-0," 8 July 2018 Fastball command has helped, too, and his heater has been a little hotter that in recent seasons. Jeff Wilson, star-telegram, "Rangers Reaction: How Gallardo could be pitching himself into Rangers' plans for 2019," 29 June 2018 Captain Kirk and second-in-command Spock journey through the gateway to reset the previous timeline, which leads to the death of a critical (but fictional) historical figure played by Joan Collins. Glenn Fleishman, Fortune, "5 Great Works From Acclaimed Sci-Fi Author Harlan Ellison, Who Died at 84," 29 June 2018 Someone at the scene should have assumed command and directed operations, but not even the fire chief took charge. Mike Hendricks, kansascity, "Firefighters protect us. Who protects them?," 13 July 2018 Put that all together with his breaking stuff and his changeup, command and all that. Matthew Defranks,, "Marlins left-hander Caleb Smith opts for surgery, will miss rest of season," 29 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

11 Oct 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

What made you want to look up command? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

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