commandeer

verb
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.

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for commandeer

Synonyms

hijack (also highjack)

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

Former New York Police Department Inspector Stephen Nasta criticized the department’s response, saying officers could have created a diversion or commandeered an armored car, bus or heavy construction equipment to reach O’Sullivan sooner. Washington Post, "Father of slain California officer praises department," 25 June 2019 In December 2011, Iran captured an American stealth drone operated from a base in Afghanistan, purportedly after an Iranian cyberwarfare unit commandeered it and landed it near the city of Kashmar in northeastern Iran. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "US acknowledges drone attack, denies it was in Iranian airspace," 20 June 2019 Five men this week declared a small city in east Texas a ‘‘sanctuary city for the unborn,’’ commandeering the language of the movement for immigrant rights to counter women’s reproductive freedom. BostonGlobe.com, "Five men outlaw abortion in a Texas town, declaring a ‘sanctuary city for the unborn’," 13 June 2019 Among the trailer's highlights: Cal, climbing aboard and commandeering an Imperial walker and destroying an enemy aircraft, and his battle with a powerful Purge Trooper, an enemy that makes its first appearance in Star Wars comic books. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, "E3 2019: In 'Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order,' video game you become a Jedi Knight," 9 June 2019 The warehouse is their showroom; the dirty work happens across the street, where the market has commandeered the site of an old customs building, burned to the ground in 2004 during protests over the ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Rowan Moore Gerety, Harper's magazine, "Downstream," 10 June 2019 Yet from Monday to Wednesday, Mr. Trump used more familiar milieus — Twitter and friendly interviews — to attack critics and commandeer attention. Maggie Haberman, New York Times, "Trump’s Split-Screen Persona on Blaring Display in U.K. Visit," 5 June 2019 Just earlier this month, Google drew similar ire over its Nest devices after a string of attacks saw hackers commandeer the device's cameras. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Google Calls Hidden Microphone in Its Nest Home Security Devices an 'Error'," 21 Feb. 2019 Chris Harrison has been commandeering the program since 2015, but it's cycled through a handful of hosts over the course of its two-decades long total run. Blair Donovan, Country Living, "'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' Has Been Cancelled After 20 Years," 25 May 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about commandeer

Statistics for commandeer

Last Updated

9 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for commandeer

The first known use of commandeer was in 1881

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for commandeer

commandeer

verb

English Language Learners Definition of commandeer

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on commandeer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with commandeer

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for commandeer

Spanish Central: Translation of commandeer

Nglish: Translation of commandeer for Spanish Speakers

Comments on commandeer

What made you want to look up commandeer? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

something desired as essential

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!