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.

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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.

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Example Sentences

The soldiers commandeered civilian vehicles to help transport the injured. an airliner commandeered by terrorists
Recent Examples on the Web Ransomware attacks commandeer an organization’s computer networks, often through malware disguised as legitimate-looking emails with files or links that unsuspecting employees open and unleash upon the system. John Woolfolk Bay Area News Group (tns), al, 12 Sep. 2022 James Webb Space Telescope Science Mission Office, informing her that she’s been allotted 18 hours to commandeer the telescope. Sumeet Kulkarni, Los Angeles Times, 25 July 2022 Second-row passengers also get their own climate controls and buttons to commandeer the shade for the panoramic roof. Ezra Dyer, Car and Driver, 15 June 2022 Vancouver’s inaugural festival of crispy tortillas and yummy fillings will commandeer Esther Short Park this weekend. oregonlive, 8 June 2022 For four years, Trump’s Twitter feed offered real-time narration of his presidency, with missives that would commandeer the daily news cycle. Los Angeles Times, 10 May 2022 This was just Biden’s third prime-time White House address—and the decision to try to commandeer the nation’s attention at dinnertime had both its political and legislative components. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, 3 June 2022 Why would demons do this, try to commandeer humans? Kent Russell, Harper’s Magazine , 25 May 2022 Along with Hazmi, their team would later commandeer Flight 77 that slammed into the Pentagon. Catherine Herridge, CBS News, 27 Apr. 2022 See More

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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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 Oct. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on commandeer

Last Updated: 23 Sep 2022

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