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


hijack (also highjack)

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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.

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

The Oakland Outlaws will commandeer The Athletic Club at 59 Grand Ave. Erin Woo, The Mercury News, "Where to watch the Women’s World Cup finals in the Bay Area this Sunday," 5 July 2019 Previous presidents have commandeered the Lincoln Memorial, but none had ever done it the way Mr. Trump did on Thursday, packing the audience with supporters and assuming the role of master of ceremonies. Michael D. Shear, New York Times, "With Flyovers and Flags, Trump Plays M.C. for the Fourth," 4 July 2019 When the film has a cop commandeer a person of color's car or an unlikely romance blossom way too quickly, the movie acknowledges such things directly to the audience (usually through a Nanjiani aside). Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "Stuber review: The world’s worst Uber ride becomes pure popcorn comedy," 12 July 2019 The vines are also able to commandeer humans, which then become hosts for their eggs, which in turn hatch Demodogs. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Stranger Things 3 Features the Show's Worst Monster Yet," 4 July 2019 Desperate to save Sophie and her city, Kate commandeers Bruce Wayne's suit to become Batman. Ineye Komonibo, Marie Claire, "The CW's 'Batwoman' Is the Latest Epic Addition to Its Superhero Lineup," 10 June 2019 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., "Five men outlaw abortion in a Texas town, declaring a ‘sanctuary city for the unborn’," 13 June 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.

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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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Statistics for commandeer

Last Updated

20 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for commandeer

The first known use of commandeer was in 1881

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More Definitions for commandeer



English Language Learners Definition of commandeer

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

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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

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a haphazard or makeshift solution

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