control

1 of 2

verb

con·​trol kən-ˈtrōl How to pronounce control (audio)
controlled; controlling

transitive verb

1
a
: to exercise restraining or directing influence over : regulate
control one's anger
b
: to have power over : rule
A single company controls the industry.
c
: to reduce the incidence or severity of especially to innocuous levels
control an insect population
control a disease
2
a
: to incorporate suitable controls in
a controlled test
see also controlled experiment
b
archaic : to check, test, or verify by evidence or experiments

intransitive verb

: to incorporate controls in an experiment or study
used with for
control for socioeconomic differences
controllability noun
controllable adjective
controlment noun

control

2 of 2

noun

often attributive
1
a
: an act or instance of controlling
also : power or authority to guide or manage
He took control of the family business.
b
: skill in the use of a tool, instrument, technique, or artistic medium
a singer's control of her voice
c
: the regulation of economic activity especially by government directive
usually used in plural
price controlsrent controls
d
: the ability of a baseball pitcher to control the location of a pitch within the strike zone
2
: restraint, reserve
exercised control of his passions
3
: one that controls: such as
a
: a device or mechanism used to regulate or guide the operation of a machine, apparatus, or system
the controls of the aircraft
b
: an organization that directs a spaceflight
mission control
(2)
: one (such as an organism, culture, or group) that is part of a control experiment and is used as a standard of comparison
… the residents in the experimental group also seemed to have a lower rate of mortality when compared with controls Ellen J. Langer and Jerry Avorn
often used before another noun
Because patients sometimes get better or worse on their own, drug tests also need a control group to compare the new drug with standard treatment or a placebo. Marilyn Chase
d
: a personality or spirit believed to actuate the utterances or performances of a spiritualist medium
4
or less commonly Control : control key
Choose the Right Synonym for control

Verb

conduct, manage, control, direct mean to use one's powers to lead, guide, or dominate.

conduct implies taking responsibility for the acts and achievements of a group.

conducted negotiations

manage implies direct handling and manipulating or maneuvering toward a desired result.

manages a meat market

control implies a regulating or restraining in order to keep within bounds or on a course.

controlling his appetite

direct implies constant guiding and regulating so as to achieve smooth operation.

directs the store's day-to-day business

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

Example Sentences

Verb The parents could not control their child. The police controlled the crowd. The small boy could not control the big dog. Her family controls the business. One country controls the whole island. The rebel army now controls nearly half the country. The lights on stage are controlled by this computer. She struggled to control the cart as it rolled before her down the steep, bumpy road. He controlled the volume by turning the radio's knob. A thermostat controls the room's temperature. Noun The city wanted local control of education. The tribes fought for control over the territory. He took control of the family farm. She hired an accountant to take control of her money. He lost all muscle control in his left arm. The soccer player showed good control of the ball. a teacher with good control of her students The farmer used an organic pest control on his crops. To cut down on competition, the government passed price controls on prescription drugs. The President wants stricter controls on immigration. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
This episode has revealed your husband’s deep insecurity, expressed in his effort to repress, manipulate and control you. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, 21 Nov. 2022 This episode has revealed your husband’s deep insecurity, expressed in his effort to repress, manipulate and control you. Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, 21 Nov. 2022 This episode has revealed your husband’s deep insecurity, expressed in his effort to repress, manipulate and control you. Amy Dickinson, cleveland, 21 Nov. 2022 This episode has revealed your husband’s deep insecurity, expressed in his effort to repress, manipulate, and control you. Q. Amy Dickinson, BostonGlobe.com, 21 Nov. 2022 This episode has revealed your husband’s deep insecurity, expressed in his effort to repress, manipulate and control you. Amy Dickinson, Chicago Tribune, 21 Nov. 2022 By studying these super fast processes, physicists hope to eventually be able to control them—and potentially exploit them—for new technologies. WIRED, 18 Nov. 2022 For now, scientists are still working to understand CAM well enough to control it. Kurt Kleiner, Smithsonian Magazine, 18 Nov. 2022 Kids can get the foundations of coding with this robot, which lets kids control it with voice commands that explore loops, commands, events and sequences. Rachel Rothman, Good Housekeeping, 18 Nov. 2022
Noun
This time around, only one seat is up for grabs, and Democrats have already locked in Senate control (though a 51st Senator would make their lives that much easier). Alex Weprin, The Hollywood Reporter, 23 Nov. 2022 Russian forces have used the spit to launch missile, drone and artillery strikes that have hammered the city of Mykolaiv, which remains in Ukrainian control but has suffered under heavy Russian fire throughout the war. Jared Malsin, WSJ, 22 Nov. 2022 Five months ago, Bob Chapek seemed firmly in control. Los Angeles Times, 22 Nov. 2022 While many local churches joined the newly independent church branch, others remained within the one still answering to Moscow — and still in control of the Monastery of the Caves. Ivan Nechepurenko, New York Times, 22 Nov. 2022 The new 5-4 council makeup will leave Republicans (including newcomer Sheldon Stewart) still in control but unable to override any potential veto from Wilson, at least in a party-line vote. Blake Apgar, The Salt Lake Tribune, 21 Nov. 2022 Organization can help quash feelings of dread about the future, a cornerstone of anxiety — and simplifying upcoming deadlines, personal commitments, and appointments in a single place can help promote a feeling of being in control. Zee Krstic, Good Housekeeping, 21 Nov. 2022 Mark Hoffman, Garden Homes’ director of development, said Prologis is in control of the building process and would take the lead on community concerns. oregonlive, 20 Nov. 2022 The sophomore guard drained her fourth 3-pointer with ease to put UConn back in control. Lila Bromberg, Hartford Courant, 20 Nov. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'control.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Verb and Noun

Middle English countrollen, from Anglo-French contrerouler, from contreroule copy of an account, audit, from Medieval Latin contrarotulus, from Latin contra- + Medieval Latin rotulus roll — more at roll

First Known Use

Verb

1523, in the meaning defined at sense 2b

Noun

1564, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of control was in 1523

Dictionary Entries Near control

Cite this Entry

“Control.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/control. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

control 1 of 2

verb

con·​trol kən-ˈtrōl How to pronounce control (audio)
controlled; controlling
1
a
: to keep within limits : restrain
control your temper
b
: to direct the action of
control a plane
2
: to have power over : rule
3
: to reduce the number of individuals or cases especially to a level that is not dangerous
control insects
control a disease
controllability noun
controllable adjective

control

2 of 2

noun

1
: the power or authority to control
2
: ability to control
the car went out of control
keep control of a situation
3
a
: a means for controlling
the controls of an airplane
price controls
b
: an organization that directs a flight beyond the earth's atmosphere
mission control
4
b
: one (as an organism or group) that is part of a control experiment and is used as a standard of comparison
5
: reduction in or regulation of the number of individuals or cases in an area
disease control

Medical Definition

control 1 of 2

verb

con·​trol kən-ˈtrōl How to pronounce control (audio)
controlled; controlling

transitive verb

1
: to incorporate suitable controls in
a controlled experiment
2
: to reduce the incidence or severity of especially to innocuous levels
control an insect population
a vaccine for controlling outbreaks of cholera

intransitive verb

: to incorporate controls in an experiment or study
used with for
failure to control for the difference in the rate of smoking between the two groups Howard Bauchner et al.

control

2 of 2

noun

1
: an act or instance of controlling something
control of acute intermittent porphyria
2
: one that is used in controlling something: as
a
: an experiment in which the subjects are treated as in a parallel experiment except for omission of the procedure or agent under test and which is used as a standard of comparison in judging experimental effects

called also control experiment

b
: one (as an organism, culture, or group) that is part of a control

Legal Definition

control

transitive verb

con·​trol
controlled; controlling
1
: to exercise restraining or directing influence over especially by law
2
: to have power or authority over
precedent controls the outcome in this case
3
: to have controlling interest in
control noun

More from Merriam-Webster on control

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
Spell It

Hear a word and type it out. How many can you get right?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ