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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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 Her father has told her stories of being a cab driver in Kabul, with Taliban fighters putting a gun to his head to commandeer his services. Los Angeles Times, 21 Aug. 2021 Instructors taught a range of skills, from a defensive stance to blows that can be delivered on a would-be hijacker desperate to commandeer the plane. CNN, 28 July 2021 Auto survivors will be the ones who ruthlessly commandeer high technology supplies and embrace the new direction, quickly, and with huge investments. Neil Winton, Forbes, 24 June 2021 Jakob, a heretofore unknown brother of Dom (played by John Cena), emerges from the underworld ether to attempt to commandeer a fearsome weapon capable of redrawing the global balance of power. Chris Lee, Vulture, 16 June 2021 The feds can contract for the right to commandeer a plant, securing an option to take over its manufacturing capacity in the event of a crisis. Scott Gottlieb, WSJ, 23 May 2021 Mark Rushbrook, global director of Ford Performance Motorsports, said the car Logano and other Ford drivers will commandeer next year still captures the unique styling of a Mustang. Morgan Korn, ABC News, 5 May 2021 Hackers seemingly cannot wait for the opportunity to commandeer vehicles. Eric A. Taub New York Times, Star Tribune, 16 Apr. 2021 The regulatory arguments from right and left are thus often intended to commandeer the speech policies of private corporations to publicly spread (or suppress) ideas against their will. David French, Time, 9 Apr. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near commandeer

command economy



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Statistics for commandeer

Last Updated

30 Aug 2021

Cite this Entry

“Commandeer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Sep. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on commandeer

Nglish: Translation of commandeer for Spanish Speakers


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