[kuh-man-ding, -mahn-]


being in command: a commanding officer.
appreciably superior or imposing; winning; sizable: a commanding position; a commanding lead in the final period.
having the air, tone, etc., of command; imposing; authoritative: a man of commanding appearance; a commanding voice.
dominating by position, usually elevation; overlooking: a commanding bluff at the mouth of the river.
(of a view, or prospect) provided by a commanding location and so permitting dominance: a commanding view of the mouth of the river.

Origin of commanding

First recorded in 1475–85; command + -ing2
Related formscom·mand·ing·ly, adverbcom·mand·ing·ness, nounqua·si-com·mand·ing, adjectivequa·si-com·mand·ing·ly, adverb


[kuh-mand, -mahnd]

verb (used with object)

to direct with specific authority or prerogative; order: The captain commanded his men to attack.
to require authoritatively; demand: She commanded silence.
to have or exercise authority or control over; be master of; have at one's bidding or disposal: The Pharaoh commanded 10,000 slaves.
to deserve and receive (respect, sympathy, attention, etc.): He commands much respect for his attitude.
to dominate by reason of location; overlook: The hill commands the sea.
to have authority over and responsibility for (a military or naval unit or installation); be in charge of.

verb (used without object)

to issue an order or orders.
to be in charge; have authority.
to occupy a dominating position; look down upon or over a body of water, region, etc.


the act of commanding or ordering.
an order given by one in authority: The colonel gave the command to attack.
  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.
the possession or exercise of controlling authority: a lieutenant in command of a platoon.
expertise; mastery: He has a command of French, Russian, and German.
British. a royal order.
power of dominating a region by reason of location; extent of view or outlook: the command of the valley from the hill.
  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.


of, relating to, or for use in the exercise of command: a command car; command post.
of or relating to a commander: a command decision.
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

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for commanding

Contemporary Examples of commanding

Historical Examples of commanding

British Dictionary definitions for commanding


adjective (usually prenominal)

being in command
having the air of authoritya commanding voice
(of a position, situation, etc) exerting control
(of a height, viewpoint, etc) overlooking; advantageous
Derived Formscommandingly, adverb



(when tr, may take a clause as object or an infinitive) to order, require, or compel
to have or be in control or authority over (a person, situation, etc)
(tr) to have knowledge or use ofhe commands the language
(tr) to receive as due or because of merithis nature commands respect
to dominate (a view, etc) as from a height


an order; mandate
the act of commanding
the power or right to command
the exercise of the power to command
ability or knowledge; controla command of French
mainly military the jurisdiction of a commander
a military unit or units commanding a specific area or function, as in the RAF
  1. an invitation from the monarch
  2. (as modifier)a command performance
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



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 commanding

late 15c. (in astronomy), present participle adjective from command (v.). Meaning "nobly dignified" is from 1590s. Meaning "dominant by virtue of size or position" is from 1630s. Related: Commandingly (mid-15c.).



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 commanding


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.