com·​man·​deer | \ˌkä-mən-ˈdir \
commandeered; commandeering; commandeers

Definition of commandeer 

transitive verb

1a : to compel to perform military service Civilians were commandeered by the army and forced to fight.

b : to seize for military purposes The soldiers commandeered civilian vehicles to help transport the injured.

2 : to take arbitrary or forcible possession of The city commandeered 60 acres of the property by eminent domain for a new high school.

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Synonyms for commandeer


hijack (also highjack)

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Did You Know?

Military forces have always had the power to commandeer houses. The Declaration of Independence complains about the way the British soldiers have done it, and the third Amendment to the Constitution states that the commandeering of people's houses shall be done only in a way prescribed by law. Almost anything—food, supplies, livestock, etc.—can be militarily commandeered when the need arises. But you don't have to be in the military for someone to "pull rank" on you: Your father may commandeer the car just when you were about to take it out for the evening, your teacher may commandeer your cell phone as you're texting in the middle of class, or your older sister may commandeer the TV remote to watch some lousy dancing competition.

Examples of commandeer in a Sentence

The soldiers commandeered civilian vehicles to help transport the injured. an airliner commandeered by terrorists

Recent Examples on the Web

By using their sense of smell, the tiny insects, some only a quarter-inch in size, locate cockroach eggs and commandeer them. Rob Dunn, Discover Magazine, "Our Attempts to Eradicate Insects are Just Making them Resistant to Pesticides," 16 Nov. 2018 The widely accepted account that hijackers commandeered and crashed the four 9/11 planes is supported by reams of evidence, from cockpit recordings to forensics to the fact that crews and passengers never returned home. Popular Mechanics, "Debunking 9/11 Myths: About the Airplanes," 11 Sep. 2018 Chavez employed government controls, commandeered a once free media, and presided over the collapse of his country in a swirl of corruption unseen even in Latin America. Fox News, "Lynne Patton responds to Omarosa audio tape," 15 Aug. 2018 Savannah, Georgia Come hungry to the Hostess City this month: the Food & Wine Festival, which commandeers the city for a week, is a smorgasbord of tastings from local and international chefs. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, "Best Places to Visit in November," 20 Sep. 2018 Jack McCain, bored with R&R on Midway during WWII, threw a trophy awarded to a rival submarine through a window of the officers club and then commandeered a Jeep to continue the festivities. P.j. O'rourke, Town & Country, "Roberta McCain, the Woman Who Shaped Senator John McCain," 29 Aug. 2018 Surrounding the train station, lining the streets and commandeering significant chunks of the Volga riverside fan park, a sea of red flags, heavily outnumbering the Three Lions’ presence, filled the eye., "90Min World Cup Fan Diaries: The Battle of Volgograd," 21 June 2018 He was also accused of being involved in a previous disturbance at the jail March 17 during which inmates set small fires, commandeered door controls and barricaded themselves inside a housing unit. Emily Lane,, "Orleans jail inmate commandeers computer to unlock fellow inmate's cell and fight him: warrant," 27 Feb. 2018 Starting Memorial Day Weekend, The Incredibles superhero family will commandeer Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom and present a dance party. Arthur Levine, USA TODAY, "Disney's Toy Story Land to open June 30," 9 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'commandeer.' 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 commandeer

1881, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for commandeer

Afrikaans kommandeer, from French commander to command, from Old French comander

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Statistics for commandeer

Last Updated

10 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for commandeer

The first known use of commandeer was in 1881

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English Language Learners Definition of commandeer

: to take (something, such as a vehicle or building) by force especially for military purposes

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More from Merriam-Webster on commandeer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with commandeer

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for commandeer

Spanish Central: Translation of commandeer

Nglish: Translation of commandeer for Spanish Speakers

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