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


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

The lower levels of the system, from Single-A Greenville to the short-seasons, feature a growing number of scouting finds from the international and domestic amateur markets who are commanding attention. Alex Speier,, "What the Andrew Cashner deal says about a changing trade market," 14 July 2019 Most recently, the federal police, commanded by Moro, now Bolsonaro’s justice minister, reportedly began investigating Greenwald’s finances in a probe that press advocates here see as an attempt to silence him. Washington Post, "Glenn Greenwald has faced pushback for his reporting before. But not like this.," 13 July 2019 Each musician provided ample intensity, their joint efforts resulting in music that commanded attention. Howard Reich,, "Review: Pianist Ryan Cohan brings an imposing intensity to Jazz Showcase," 12 July 2019 That may be the moment for Mr Tsipras to transform Syriza into a left-of-centre party that could command broader support. The Economist, "Greece’s new prime minister promises less drama," 11 July 2019 And the prospect of seeing who's more commanding on the field, Megan Rapinoe and England's Ellen White, should be fascinating for even casual fans. Chris Morris, Fortune, "How to Watch USA vs. England Women’s World Cup Match Live Online for Free," 2 July 2019 Brandi Carlile, Whitney, Taking Back Sunday and more discuss how certain indie festivals have found success in a system commanded by mega-companies. Chris Payne, Billboard, "What Does It Mean to Be an Independent Festival in 2019?," 26 June 2019 Scott’s testimony delivers the latest serious blow to the prosecution’s case in a trial that has commanded national attention. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Witness in SEAL trial says he - not Gallagher - killed wounded Iraqi," 20 June 2019 Earlier this week, Rihanna teased Fenty’s first stateside pop-up shop on her Instagram, and the luxury label’s CEO showed up at the store’s SoHo launch party June 18 in a bossy look that commanded everyone’s attention. Jennifer Ford, Essence, "Rihanna Stuns In Box Braids At Fenty Pop Up Shop," 19 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The command will also force you into losing your custom dictionary. Dalvin Brown, USA TODAY, "World Emoji Day: Emoticons are the best, but finding the right one is the absolute worst," 17 July 2019 As Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders prepared to enter lunar orbit, Armstrong was offered the command on Apollo 11. Jamie Turner,, "How Neil Armstrong earned the moon landing’s lead role: Apollo 11 at 50," 16 July 2019 Hamilton headed the software engineering division that developed the onboard flight software for the Apollo command and lunar modules. Shirley Leung,, "Behind the men on the moon, there were thousands of women," 16 July 2019 Westcott was a mechanical engineer and, in the early ‘60s, part of the team that designed the Apollo command and service module for NASA at North American Aviation’s plant in Downey, Calif., "He was there when it really was a moon shot, and he had to get them home safely: Steve Duin," 15 July 2019 The raid had been perfectly implemented but a total failure because the military command didn’t know that the prisoners had been moved a few months before. Cheryl Hall, Dallas News, "Remembering Ross Perot: Orson Swindle says he'll never forget the grand fete for returning former POWs," 13 July 2019 The following day Armstrong and Aldrin entered the lunar module (LM) lander while Collins remained in lunar orbit aboard the command and service module (CSM). Curtis Roelle,, "Star Points: On the occasion of its golden anniversary, looking back at the first moon landing," 12 July 2019 The questions should focus on the real powers the office commands. David Roberts, Vox, "We might get a climate debate after all. Here are 10 questions to ask candidates.," 3 July 2019 Since the rich command a disproportionately large share of overall income, getting them wrong is a disproportionately big problem. The Economist, "A rare peep at the finances of Britain’s 0.01%," 29 June 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

Statistics for command

Last Updated

19 Jul 2019

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 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with command

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for command

Spanish Central: Translation of command

Nglish: Translation of command for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of command for Arabic Speakers

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).


something desired as essential

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