com·​mand | \ kə-ˈmand How to pronounce command (audio) \
commanded; commanding; commands

Definition of command

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to direct authoritatively : order commanded adherence to the rules
2 : to exercise a dominating influence over : have command of: such as
a : to have at one's immediate disposal commands many resources
b : to demand or receive as one's due commands a high fee
c : to overlook or dominate from or as if from a strategic position a hill that commands the city
d : to have military command of as senior officer command a regiment
3 obsolete : to order or request to be given

intransitive verb

1 : to have or exercise direct authority : govern The king knows how to command well.
2 : to give orders The master commands, and the servants obey.
3 : to be commander The general will command at the western front.
4 : to dominate as if from an elevated place



Definition of command (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : an order given The command was to hold fire.
b(1) : a signal that actuates a device (such as a control mechanism in a spacecraft or one step in a computer)
(2) : the activation of a device by means of such a signal
(3) : a line of code (see code entry 1 sense 5) instructing a computer to send such a signal
2a : the ability to control : mastery She was in command of her emotions.
b : the authority or right to command the officer in command
c(1) : the power to dominate The fort has command of the valley.
(2) : scope of vision The tower provides a wide command of the neighboring hills.
d : facility in use a good command of French
e : control sense 1d a pitcher with good command of his curveball
3 : the act of commanding The troops will charge at command.
4 : the personnel, area, or organization under a commander specifically : a unit of the U.S. Air Force higher than an air force
5 : a position of highest usually military authority He was relieved of his command after being charged with misconduct.
on command
: when an order is given : in response to a command a dog trained to attack on command



Definition of command (Entry 3 of 3)

: done on command or request a command performance

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Other Words from command


commandable \ kə-​ˈman-​də-​bəl How to pronounce commandable (audio) \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for command


command, order, bid, enjoin, direct, instruct, charge mean to issue orders. command and order imply authority and usually some degree of formality and impersonality. command stresses official exercise of authority. a general commanding troops order may suggest peremptory or arbitrary exercise. ordered his employees about like slaves bid suggests giving orders peremptorily (as to children or servants). she bade him be seated enjoin implies giving an order or direction authoritatively and urgently and often with admonition or solicitude. a sign enjoining patrons to be quiet direct and instruct both connote expectation of obedience and usually concern specific points of procedure or method, instruct sometimes implying greater explicitness or formality. directed her assistant to hold all calls the judge instructed the jury to ignore the remark charge adds to enjoin an implication of imposing as a duty or responsibility. charged by the President with a secret mission


power, authority, jurisdiction, control, command, sway, dominion mean the right to govern or rule or determine. power implies possession of ability to wield force, authority, or influence. the power to mold public opinion authority implies power for a specific purpose within specified limits. granted the authority to manage her estate jurisdiction applies to official power exercised within prescribed limits. the bureau having jurisdiction over parks control stresses the power to direct and restrain. you are responsible for the students under your control command implies the power to make arbitrary decisions and compel obedience. the army officer in command sway suggests the extent of exercised power or influence. the empire extended its sway over the region dominion stresses sovereign power or supreme authority. given dominion over all the animals

Examples of command in a Sentence


She commanded us to leave. Military leaders commanded the troops to open fire. She commanded that work on the bridge cease immediately. We had no choice but to do as they commanded. He commands a platoon of 60. With his skills and experience, he can command a high salary. The company commands much power and influence in the business world.


We are expected to obey his commands. She shouted out commands to the crew. We started to teach the dog simple commands like “sit” and “lie down.” You can perform several actions with keyboard commands. The system recognizes voice commands. He was relieved of his command after being charged with misconduct. Who is the officer in command of the unit? I assumed command of the business after my father's death. He immediately took command of the situation. He finally felt in command of his life.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

It should be said that Phoenix is stunning in the role: a figure adjacent but entirely apart from Jack Nicholson’s leering cartoon or Heath Ledger’s giddy, commanding anarchist. Leah Greenblatt,, "Joaquin Phoenix’s captivating, unsettling Joker is no laughing matter," 10 Sep. 2019 Public health experts have said that Juul has largely propelled the rise, commanding about 75% of the e-cigarette market in the United States. Jamie Gumbrecht, CNN, "FDA warns leading e-cigarette maker Juul about its marketing practices," 9 Sep. 2019 Second are those who are enthusiastic about having NFC or Alexa voice commands on your smartwatch. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Fitbit Versa 2 review: A solid replacement, but not totally remade," 9 Sep. 2019 Gray has come to realize that commanding his plus-fastball is job one, and that success with his slider and curve will follow. Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post, "Rockies’ starting rotation for 2020 needs an extreme makeover," 8 Sep. 2019 But President Sergio Mattarella reminded the nation that in a parliamentary democracy what matters is whether a coalition commands a working majority in the legislature. Washington Post, "Johnson and Salvini: 2 soaring stars lose big political bets," 7 Sep. 2019 In 2014, Time magazine offered a compelling explanation for why the tan suit - specially fitted for Obama by Georges de Paris, the Washington tailor who had outfitted every president from Lyndon B. Johnson onward - commanded such outsized attention. oregonlive, "Five years ago, Obama was blasted for wearing a tan suit. Now, it’s used to contrast him with Trump.," 1 Sep. 2019 At 320 pounds, Adrian Razo could command some attention on both sides of the line. Scott Springer,, "Eastern Cincinnati Conference football improving year by year," 21 Aug. 2019 That compared with the 19.9 percent share that tech employment commanded at the end of 2000. George Avalos, The Mercury News, "Tech jobs soar to all-time record in Bay Area," 5 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

That position has since been filled by his former second-in-command, Deputy Chief Craig McCartt. Ryan Martin, Indianapolis Star, "Former Indianapolis officer who resigned from top job in North Carolina to return to IMPD," 11 Sep. 2019 Becton’s former second-in-command, Phyllis Redmond, left the office earlier this year and recently publicly criticized its handling of a 1980s murder defendant who was recently freed through a plea deal. Nate Gartrell, The Mercury News, "Longtime prosecutor files political retaliation complaint against Contra Costa DA," 6 Sep. 2019 The Test Pilot School will have direct ties to the new command, since the satellite operators and other personnel will come from SPACECOM units. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "The Air Force's Most Famous Pilot School Is Going To Space," 3 Sep. 2019 Balancing these different uses, pursuant to the Constitution, commands of Congress, and wishes of the American people, is challenging for the federal government and especially the BLM. William Perry Pendley, The Denver Post, "William Perry Pendley: Rebutting a popular myth about my position on public lands," 30 Aug. 2019 Apple and Amazon have also suspended or announced changes to human analysis of user commands, amid increasing global scrutiny by regulators and lawmakers over the privacy implications of the practice. Fortune, "Germany Is Investigating Facebook for Transcribing Users’ Audio Messages," 26 Aug. 2019 Taka is currently working on mastering his basic commands, distraction training and earning his American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Good Citizen certification. Kelli Bender,, "Dog Injured in Fire Is Dedicating His Life to Supporting and Comforting Burn Victims," 25 July 2019 The 26-year-old right-hander is pitching with a newfound command, having issued just one walk in his past 21 ⅔ innings. Rusty Simmons,, "Giants push win streak to seven games behind Tyler Beede start and Mets’ 10th-inning gaffe," 19 July 2019 Because Iran has a poor unified command and control, disrupting its central networks may do little to tactically disrupt rocket or missile launches, one former official said. Dustin Volz, WSJ, "U.S. Launched Cyberattacks on Iran," 23 June 2019

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1826, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for command


Middle English comanden, from Anglo-French cumander, from Vulgar Latin *commandare, alteration of Latin commendare to commit to one's charge — more at commend

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Statistics for command

Last Updated

13 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for command

The first known use of command was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for command



English Language Learners Definition of command

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to give (someone) an order : to tell (someone) to do something in a forceful and often official way
: to have authority and control over (a group of people, such as soldiers)
: to deserve or be able to get or receive (something)



English Language Learners Definition of command (Entry 2 of 2)

: an order given to a person or animal to do something
: an instruction in the form of a code or signal that tells a computer to do something
: the power that someone (such as a military officer) has to give orders and to control a group of people


com·​mand | \ kə-ˈmand How to pronounce command (audio) \
commanded; commanding

Kids Definition of command

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to order with authority The king commanded them to leave.
2 : to have power or control over : be commander of He commands an army.
3 : to demand as right or due : exact A piano teacher commands a high fee.
4 : to survey from a good position The fort is on a hill that commands a view of the city.



Kids Definition of command (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an order given Obey her command.
2 : the authority, right, or power to command : control The troops are under my command.
3 : the ability to control and use : mastery She has a good command of the language.
4 : the people, area, or unit (as of soldiers and weapons) under a commander
5 : a position from which military operations are directed

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More from Merriam-Webster on command

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with command

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for command

Spanish Central: Translation of command

Nglish: Translation of command for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of command for Arabic Speakers

Comments on command

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to spread over or through

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