commander in chief

See synonyms for commander in chief on
noun,plural commanders in chief.
  1. Also Commander in Chief . the supreme commander of the armed forces of a nation or, sometimes, of several allied nations: The president is the Commander in Chief of the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force.

  2. an officer in command of a particular portion of an armed force who has been given this title by specific authorization.

Origin of commander in chief

First recorded in 1635–45

Words Nearby commander in chief Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use commander in chief in a sentence

  • The commander-in-chief still kept him attached to the headquarter staff, and constantly employed him on special service.

    Napoleon's Marshals | R. P. Dunn-Pattison
  • So far Murat had always held subordinate commands; his great ambition was to become the commander-in-chief of an independent army.

    Napoleon's Marshals | R. P. Dunn-Pattison
  • As commander-in-chief, Bonaparte, for the time being, held the whip hand and could show his dislike by severe reprimands.

    Napoleon's Marshals | R. P. Dunn-Pattison
  • Doing so, I received a different sort of salute from that to which a Commander-in-Chief landing on duty is entitled by regulation.

  • The commander-in-chief overrated the fighting qualities of the Neapolitan troops and thought it prudent to evacuate Rome.

    Napoleon's Marshals | R. P. Dunn-Pattison

British Dictionary definitions for commander in chief

commander in chief

nounplural commanders in chief
  1. the officer holding supreme command of the forces in an area or operation

  2. the officer holding command of a major subdivision of one military service

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

Cultural definitions for commander in chief

commander in chief

The role of the United States president as highest ranking officer in the armed forces. The Constitution provides this power, but, through the system of checks and balances, gives Congress the authority to declare war. During periods of war, presidents such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, George H. W. Bush, William Jefferson Clinton, and George W. Bush have taken active roles as commander in chief.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.