Definition of countermand
- countermand reinforcements
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Orders to blow up the bridge were countermanded.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'countermand.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
In the military, one's mandate is to follow the commands (and sometimes the "countermands") of the officers. Doing their bidding is not particularly commendable - it's simply mandatory. The Latin verb mandare, meaning "to entrust" or "to order," is the authority behind "countermand." It's also behind the words "mandate," "command," "demand," "commend" (which can mean "to entrust" as well as "to praise"), and "mandatory." "Countermand" came to English via Anglo French, where the prefix cuntre- ("against") was combined with the verb "mander" ("to command"). It has been a part of our language since the 1400s.
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