con·​trol·​ling kən-ˈtrō-liŋ How to pronounce controlling (audio)
: inclined to control others' behavior : domineering

Examples of controlling in a Sentence

She is very strict and controlling. The larger bank remained the controlling party when it took over the smaller banks. He paid over 40 million dollars for a controlling interest in the company.
Recent Examples on the Web My son-in-law is very controlling as well as verbally and emotionally abusive. Jeanne Phillips, The Mercury News, 7 Mar. 2024 Shally Ung, who started going to Star Dance in 2006, said a friend complained Tran was too controlling. Summer Lin, Los Angeles Times, 17 Dec. 2023 Lawyers for the company argued that shareholders were being too controlling by requesting the disclosure of AI risks. Nicole Goodkind, CNN, 28 Feb. 2024 Not every house could or wanted to continue operating, under the controlling German leadership, but those who did were closely watched and perceived infractions were harshly dealt with by Paris’ temporary oppressors. Rachel Elspeth Gross, Forbes, 16 Feb. 2024 The 74-year-old will become the new controlling hand of the club, ending a 31-year run for Peter Angelos and his family. Matt Weyrich, Baltimore Sun, 31 Jan. 2024 Sempra Infrastructure retains a controlling 28 percent indirect interest in Phase 1 while ConocoPhillips owns the remaining 30 percent. Rob Nikolewski, San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 Sep. 2023 For example, Joanne found herself in a toxic relationship with a controlling American man. Monica Liu, The Conversation, 4 Oct. 2023 Stats also show that 97% of defendants prosecuted for coercive and controlling behavior in the year ending December 2018 were male. Kimberley Dadds, Vogue, 18 July 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'controlling.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1974, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of controlling was in 1974

Dictionary Entries Near controlling

Cite this Entry

“Controlling.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: tending to control the behavior of other people

Legal Definition


: exercising domination or influence
the controlling principles of law
: dispositive
judgment debtor's stipulation to pay a specified amount is not controllingJ. H. Friedenthal et al.
: having controlling interest
controlling shareholders
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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