com·​man·​do | \ kə-ˈman-(ˌ)dō How to pronounce commando (audio) \
plural commandos or commandoes

Definition of commando

1 South Africa

a : a military unit or command of the Boers
b : a raiding expedition
2a : a military unit trained and organized as shock troops especially for hit-and-run raids into enemy territory
b : a member of such a unit
go commando
slang : to wear no underwear

Examples of commando in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The militants were killed by commandoes inside the cafe during a 12-hour standoff. Julhas Alam, The Seattle Times, "Trial begins in attack on Bangladesh cafe in which 22 died," 4 Dec. 2018 In neighboring Nangarhar province, American Special Operation troops and Afghan commandos have battled pockets of fighters allied with the Islamic State since 2015. Thomas Gibbons-neff, New York Times, "American Soldier Is Killed in Afghanistan, the 2nd This Week," 12 July 2018 That is a significant change for commandos who are used to making fast judgments about missions and the move reverses guidance issued last year by the Special Operations Command in Africa. Thomas Gibbons-neff And Eric Schmitt,, "US commandos in Africa told to avoid direct combat," 9 May 2018 No, actor Ben Schnetzer’s character, an Israeli commando who feels conflicted about carrying out the potentially lethal raid, is fictional. Kate Samuelson, Time, "The True Story Behind the Movie 7 Days in Entebbe," 16 Mar. 2018 Afghan commandos battled Sunday to dislodge armed assailants who raided a landmark hotel in Kabul, sparking gunfire and explosions that left at least five people dead, officials said. Shashank Bengali,, "At least 5 killed as gunmen attack landmark hotel in Afghan capital," 21 Jan. 2018 Later, during a news conference, Guaido blamed the elite police commando unit for the killing. Fabiola Sanchez, The Seattle Times, "Deadly crackdown stokes fear among protesters in Venezuela," 20 Feb. 2019 These experts would be developed over time much like the military in the past has created cadres of service members with expertise in medicine, cyber operations and commando operations. Fox News, "Pentagon Space Force plan at a glance," 9 Aug. 2018 Although the group’s area of control and number of fighters in Afghanistan have largely been reduced through heavy airstrikes and commando operations, the militants still continue to claim attacks in urban centers. Mujib Mashal And Jawad Sukhanyar, New York Times, "‘So Many Bodies’: Bomber Kills Dozens Signing Up to Vote in Kabul," 22 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'commando.' 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 commando

1839, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for commando

Afrikaans kommando, from Dutch commando command, from Spanish comando, from comandar to command, from Late Latin commandare

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Statistics for commando

Last Updated

3 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for commando

The first known use of commando was in 1839

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English Language Learners Definition of commando

: a soldier who is trained to carry out surprise attacks on an enemy


com·​man·​do | \ kə-ˈman-dō How to pronounce commando (audio) \
plural commandos or commandoes

Kids Definition of commando

1 : a unit of troops trained for making surprise raids into enemy territory
2 : a member of a commando

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More from Merriam-Webster on commando

Spanish Central: Translation of commando

Nglish: Translation of commando for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about commando

Comments on commando

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


to take the place or position of

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