command

1 of 3

verb

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

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
a leader who knows how to command well
2
: to give orders
Rob seldom commanded, but when he did Master Ted had to give in.Louisa May Alcott
3
: to be commander
The general will command at the western front.
4
: to dominate as if from an elevated place
commandable adjective

command

2 of 3

noun

1
a
: 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
2
a
: 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.

command

3 of 3

adjective

: done on command or request
a command performance
Phrases
on command
: when an order is given : in response to a command
a dog trained to attack on command
Choose the Right Synonym for command

Verb

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

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

Noun

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

Verb 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. Noun 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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Read Document 1 page The Citadel, a public school founded in Charleston, S.C., in 1842, commands a special place of respect in a state that puts a high value on military service. Richard Fausset, New York Times, 10 June 2024 To ensure that Michigan Central commands the proceedings, the concert stage is equipped with a transparent roof, rare to U.S. festival productions. Brian McCollum, Detroit Free Press, 10 June 2024
Noun
The Oscar-winning actor took on the leading role in this biographical film, which depicted JFK as a Navy officer in command of Motor Torpedo Boat PT-109 during the Pacific War of World War II. Cristina Everett, EW.com, 11 June 2024 Now the Florida Panthers fly to Edmonton more than in command. Greg Cote, Miami Herald, 11 June 2024
Adjective
An upcoming marksmanship exercise for early-August was also canceled, as were a pre-command course, firearms training for soldiers who need to improve their marksmanship, and more. Oren Liebermann, CNN, 23 July 2021 See all Example Sentences for command 

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

Word History

Etymology

Verb

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

First Known Use

Verb

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

Noun

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

Adjective

1826, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near command

Cite this Entry

“Command.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/command. Accessed 22 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

command

1 of 2 verb
com·​mand kə-ˈmand How to pronounce command (audio)
1
a
: to issue orders by right of authority
b
: to have authority and control over : be commander of
command an army
2
: to have for one's use
commands many resources
3
: to demand or receive as one's due : exact
commands a high fee
4
: to look down on especially from a militarily strong position
the hill commands the town

command

2 of 2 noun
1
: the act of commanding
march on command
2
: an order given
obey a command
3
a
: the ability to control : mastery
a good command of French
b
: the authority, right, or power to command
4
: the people, area, or unit under a commander
5
: a position from which military operations are directed

More from Merriam-Webster on command

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