Definition of commandeer
1 a : to compel to perform military service b : to seize for military purposes
2 : to take arbitrary or forcible possession of
Examples of commandeer in a sentence
The soldiers commandeered civilian vehicles to help transport the injured.
<an airliner commandeered by terrorists>
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.
Origin and Etymology of commandeer
Afrikaans kommandeer, from French commander to command, from Old French comander
First Known Use: 1881
COMMANDEER Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of commandeer for English Language Learners
: to take (something, such as a vehicle or building) by force especially for military purposes
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up commandeer? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).