com·​man·​deer ˌkä-mən-ˈdir How to pronounce commandeer (audio)
commandeered; commandeering; commandeers

transitive verb

: to compel to perform military service
Civilians were commandeered by the army and forced to fight.
: to seize for military purposes
The soldiers commandeered civilian vehicles to help transport the injured.
: to take arbitrary or forcible possession of
The city commandeered 60 acres of the property by eminent domain for a new high school.

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 Foster needs to sell season tickets, but campus needs to stop commandeering the concession revenue from basketball games in Pauley Pavilion. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, 12 Feb. 2024 From a parking lot on the corner of 12th and Figueroa streets, Michael Lopez carefully commandeered his drone through the skyline around LA Live. Gustavo Arellano, Los Angeles Times, 3 Feb. 2024 California State University, Monterey Bay, has commandeered the northwest flank, melding modern architecture with a drill-sergeant’s hat tip to its storied military history. Sam McManis, Sacramento Bee, 31 Jan. 2024 The hardest hit appears to be an employee of a company whose AT&T device was allegedly commandeered at a Texas retail store, resulting in over $400 million being allegedly transferred from the employee's company to co-conspirators' financial accounts. Ashley Belanger, Ars Technica, 30 Jan. 2024 The department said Texas' move to commandeer the park was obstructing Border Patrol's obligations to apprehend and process migrants. Camilo Montoya-Galvez, CBS News, 17 Jan. 2024 The documents also reveal that FBI agents secretly tracked the holiday travel to Mexico of a Digital World board member so he could be intercepted on his return to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, where Customs and Border Protection officers commandeered his iPhone. Drew Harwell, Washington Post, 3 Feb. 2024 Meyer also noted that some of the areas Texas had commandeered sit on federal land. Camilo Montoya-Galvez, CBS News, 14 Jan. 2024 But things turn dire quickly when their governments declare war on each other and both groups are instructed to commandeer the space station by any means necessary. William Earl, Variety, 21 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'commandeer.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1881, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of commandeer was in 1881

Dictionary Entries Near commandeer

Cite this Entry

“Commandeer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


com·​man·​deer ˌkäm-ən-ˈdi(ə)r How to pronounce commandeer (audio)
: to take possession of by force especially for military purposes

More from Merriam-Webster on commandeer

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