[kuh-mand, -mahnd]
See more synonyms for command on
verb (used with object)
  1. to direct with specific authority or prerogative; order: The captain commanded his men to attack.
  2. to require authoritatively; demand: She commanded silence.
  3. to have or exercise authority or control over; be master of; have at one's bidding or disposal: The Pharaoh commanded 10,000 slaves.
  4. to deserve and receive (respect, sympathy, attention, etc.): He commands much respect for his attitude.
  5. to dominate by reason of location; overlook: The hill commands the sea.
  6. to have authority over and responsibility for (a military or naval unit or installation); be in charge of.
verb (used without object)
  1. to issue an order or orders.
  2. to be in charge; have authority.
  3. to occupy a dominating position; look down upon or over a body of water, region, etc.
  1. the act of commanding or ordering.
  2. an order given by one in authority: The colonel gave the command to attack.
  3. Military.
    1. an order in prescribed words, usually given in a loud voice to troops at close-order drill: The command was “Right shoulder arms!”
    2. the order of execution or the second part of any two-part close-order drill command, as face in Right face!
    3. (initial capital letter)a principal component of the U.S. Air Force: Strategic Air Command.
    4. a body of troops or a station, ship, etc., under a commander.
  4. the possession or exercise of controlling authority: a lieutenant in command of a platoon.
  5. expertise; mastery: He has a command of French, Russian, and German.
  6. British. a royal order.
  7. power of dominating a region by reason of location; extent of view or outlook: the command of the valley from the hill.
  8. Computers.
    1. an electric impulse, signal, or set of signals for initiating an operation in a computer.
    2. a character, symbol, or item of information for instructing a computer to perform a specific task.
    3. a single instruction.
  1. of, relating to, or for use in the exercise of command: a command car; command post.
  2. of or relating to a commander: a command decision.
  3. ordered by a sovereign, as if by a sovereign, or by the exigencies of a situation: a command performance.

Origin of command

1250–1300; (v.) Middle English coma(u)nden < Anglo-French com(m)a(u)nder, Old French comander < Medieval Latin commandāre, equivalent to Latin com- com- + mandāre to entrust, order (cf. commend); (noun) late Middle English comma(u)nde < Anglo-French, Old French, noun derivative of the v.
Related formscommand·a·ble, adjectivepre·com·mand, noun, verbun·com·mand·ed, adjectivewell-com·mand·ed, adjective

Synonyms for command

See more synonyms for on

Synonym study

1. See direct. 3. See rule.

Antonyms for command

1, 7. obey. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for command

Contemporary Examples of command

Historical Examples of command

  • He threw himself against the rock and pushed with all the strength he could command.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • This satisfied him, for he cared nothing for the attachment of those under his command.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • Great credit is also due to the second in command, and to every member of the party.

  • He could not even tell her that it was at Hope's command he sought her.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • I asked her many questions before I could command attention.

British Dictionary definitions for command


  1. (when tr, may take a clause as object or an infinitive) to order, require, or compel
  2. to have or be in control or authority over (a person, situation, etc)
  3. (tr) to have knowledge or use ofhe commands the language
  4. (tr) to receive as due or because of merithis nature commands respect
  5. to dominate (a view, etc) as from a height
  1. an order; mandate
  2. the act of commanding
  3. the power or right to command
  4. the exercise of the power to command
  5. ability or knowledge; controla command of French
  6. mainly military the jurisdiction of a commander
  7. a military unit or units commanding a specific area or function, as in the RAF
  8. British
    1. an invitation from the monarch
    2. (as modifier)a command performance
  9. computing a word or phrase that can be selected from a menu or typed after a prompt in order to carry out an action

Word Origin for command

C13: from Old French commander, from Latin com- (intensive) + mandāre to entrust, enjoin, command


  1. any of the three main branches of the Canadian military forcesAir Command
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for command

c.1300, from Old French comander "to order, enjoin, entrust" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *commandare, from Latin commendare "to recommend, entrust to" (see commend), altered by influence of Latin mandare "to commit, entrust" (see mandate (n.)). Replaced Old English bebeodan. Related: Commanded; commanding.


c.1400, "order, command," from Old French comand (14c.), from comander (see command (v.)). Meaning "control, authority" is from mid-15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with command


In addition to the idiom beginning with command

  • command performance

also see:

  • have a good command
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.