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 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



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

Other Words from command


commandable \ kə-​ˈman-​də-​bəl How to pronounce command (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 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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb There's no word yet on price, either for this special edition or for the standard-issue, V-12–powered Maybach S680, but both are likely to command well over $200,000. Caleb Miller, Car and Driver, 5 Apr. 2022 Also approaching free agency in March, Wallace will be expected to command a larger contract as a 17-game starter at cornerback in 2021. Mark Inabinett |, al, 25 Feb. 2022 He's expected to command a contract above $20 million per year. Bobby Nightengale, The Enquirer, 4 Nov. 2021 Apple is expected to command almost 49% of the US smartphone market this year, according to Insider Intelligence, with that increasing to nearly 50% by 2024. Mark Gurman, Fortune, 7 Sep. 2022 Keys is an artist who’s always been able to command a lot of genres and a lot of audience. Annie Nickoloff, cleveland, 20 Aug. 2022 Now, as more workers return to hospitals, some can command five-figure signing bonuses in places where there are staffing shortages. Callum Borchers, WSJ, 1 Sep. 2022 All will command expensive deals, whether in Cincinnati or somewhere else. Tim Bielik, cleveland, 27 Aug. 2022 Few can command a step and repeat at the Met quite like Lively. Christian Allaire, Vogue, 25 Aug. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun New England will get the ball at the Pittsburgh 10 with a great opportunity to really take command. Christopher Price,, 18 Sep. 2022 Rising already had command of the locker room, his captaincy merely hammered that fact home. Josh Newman, The Salt Lake Tribune, 16 Sep. 2022 In his second year as a starter, Salah showed superb command of the Spartans’ offense. Patrick Z. Mcgavin, Chicago Tribune, 9 Sep. 2022 Jabeur seized command of her semifinal from the outset on Thursday, taking merely 66 minutes to complete a 6-1, 6-3 rout of No. 17 Caroline Garcia, who had been riding a 13-match winning streak. Houston Mitchell, Los Angeles Times, 9 Sep. 2022 Cowell recalls working with the singer in 2003 on her first album, certified double platinum in the U.S., and marveling at how the then 20-year-old already had a command of her voice and image. Elizabeth Wagmeister, Variety, 7 Sep. 2022 Another video appears to have captured the vantage point of a police supervisor who takes command of the scene that night. CNN, 4 Sep. 2022 However, Mariota, in his eighth season, displayed command of coach Arthur Smith’s offense during camp and preseason. oregonlive, 31 Aug. 2022 The 6-3, 310-pound Eureka, Missouri native has a command and understanding of the offense. Justin Spears, The Arizona Republic, 30 Aug. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: 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 More

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.

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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Time Traveler for command

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

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Last Updated

1 Oct 2022

Cite this Entry

“Command.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for command


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

More from Merriam-Webster on command

Nglish: Translation of command for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of command for Arabic Speakers


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