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.

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 Eastman's first memo on the topic, only two pages long, described a six-point plan by which Pence could effectively commandeer the electoral counting process and enable Trump to win. The Washington Post, Arkansas Online, 9 Nov. 2021 Little ones can get lost in a dense ‘forest’ of pool noodles, or commandeer a pirate ship and play make-believe with a treasure chest full of costumes and treasures. Jeffrey Steele, Forbes, 7 June 2021 The governor also has the authority to commandeer private property, including hospitals, medical labs, hotels and motels. Phil Willon, Los Angeles Times, 17 Aug. 2021 Another group of Moorish sovereign citizens were in the news last week, as well, after TikTok user @regblackgrl documented a group’s attempt to commandeer her home. Andrea Marks, Rolling Stone, 7 July 2021 Toward the end of those years, the Viking and his closest lieutenants were cast into a lightless dungeon, yet nonetheless managed to break out, kidnap the emperor’s mistress and commandeer two galleys. Washington Post, 22 Sep. 2021 The show, which airs live on CNN, will commandeer the Central Park spot from 5-10 p.m. ET. Melissa Ruggieri, USA TODAY, 19 Aug. 2021 Right about where the Arizona Trail spins off to the left, aspen trees commandeer the landscape. Mare Czinar, The Arizona Republic, 16 Sep. 2021 Cody’s megawatt script seems to commandeer Kusama’s direction, overriding the fierce and focussed ideas. Richard Brod, The New Yorker, 1 Sep. 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

22 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Commandeer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 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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