com·​man·​deer | \ ˌkä-mən-ˈdir How to pronounce commandeer (audio) \
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


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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 That law, enacted in 1939 and revised several times, imposes civil and criminal prohibitions aimed at barring officials from using their official powers to commandeer public resources for partisan political activities. Charlie Savage, Star Tribune, "Trump dismisses criticism that use of White House for RNC staging is illegal," 27 Aug. 2020 Meet the hackers who, this weekend, will try to commandeer an actual orbiter as part of a Defcon contest hosted by the Air Force and the Defense Digital Service. Sarah Scoles, Wired, "The Feds Want These Teams to Hack a Satellite—From Home," 6 Aug. 2020 Two employees of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, in testimony, described how Penrose would commandeer meetings. Scott Wartman, The Enquirer, "Dawn Gentry secretary: No threesome, just a prank," 12 Aug. 2020 Once inside the cell, the virus has to evade the cell’s immune defenses and then commandeer the appropriate parts of the host’s biochemistry to churn out new viruses. Bob Holmes, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Viruses Evolve," 17 July 2020 Even President Trump, who rarely misses an opportunity to commandeer sports for the purpose of a culture war, couldn’t be bothered to send a Tweet about it. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Opinion: NBA players kneeling during the national anthem doesn't seem like an act of defiance," 1 Aug. 2020 In the future, deepfake videos and audiofakes may well be used to create distinct, sensational moments that commandeer a press cycle, or to distract from some other, more organic scandal. Renee Diresta, Wired, "AI-Generated Text Is the Scariest Deepfake of All," 31 July 2020 The Wednesday report said the deal for Reid to commandeer the 7 p.m. time slot, which has been occupied by a rotation of guests since March, is not finalized and could falter if the two sides cannot reach an agreement. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "MSNBC leaning toward tapping Joy Reid to fill vacancy left by Chris Matthews," 25 June 2020 And that’s an interesting dynamic to have police just sort of trying to commandeer buses to become paddy wagons. The Atlantic, "Listen: How Limiting Protests Will Spread the Virus," 4 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for commandeer

Time Traveler

The first known use of commandeer was in 1881

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Statistics for commandeer

Last Updated

10 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Commandeer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for commandeer


How to pronounce commandeer (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of commandeer

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

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Nglish: Translation of commandeer for Spanish Speakers

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