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


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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 Our screens have commandeered our eyeballs and taken hold of our lives. Wired, "It's Time to Put Down Your Phone," 11 Oct. 2019 Most recently, the collaborative commandeered the vacant courtroom of Common Pleas Judge Pinkey Carr. Peter Krouse, cleveland, "Lawyers give free advice to defendants with child custody, eviction and other non-criminal concerns," 27 Sep. 2019 The feedback loop commandeers the sound system and the engineers, with all their knobs and dials, have to fight to bring the system back under control. Mike Loukides, Quartz, "The biggest problem with social media has nothing to do with free speech," 24 Sep. 2019 Renwick commandeered the getaway car, leaving the other three to walk eight miles to Interstate 40, and was arrested two days later in Colorado. John D'anna, azcentral, "The Barksdales weren't the first. Here's three of Arizona's most notorious prison escapes," 4 Sep. 2019 This hungry cheetah commandeers a dusty Toyota for a much better view. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Wild time on a Serengeti safari," 11 Sep. 2019 School is in session and the class clown has commandeered the lectern. Los Angeles Times, "Review: For John Leguizamo, class is back in session. ‘Latin History for Morons’ hits L.A.," 9 Sep. 2019 Over the past couple of weeks, Bennet held a few practice sessions, in Washington, in a local middle-school auditorium that his staff had commandeered. Eric Lach, The New Yorker, "Can Michael Bennet Climb Out of the Second Tier at the Democratic Debates?," 26 June 2019 Assisted by a Senate messenger, an African American named Tobias Simpson, Machen commandeered a wagon from a District resident and began loading it with bundles of Senate papers., "Interactive quiz: Could you pass the PARCC standardized tests?," 27 Aug. 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

12 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for commandeer

The first known use of commandeer was in 1881

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More Definitions for commandeer


How to pronounce commandeer (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for commandeer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with commandeer

Spanish Central: Translation of commandeer

Nglish: Translation of commandeer for Spanish Speakers

Comments on commandeer

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something of little or no value

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