View synonyms for control


[ kuhn-trohl ]

verb (used with object)

, con·trolled, con·trol·ling.
  1. to exercise restraint or direction over; dominate: command:

    The car is difficult to control at high speeds.

    That zone is controlled by enemy troops.

    Synonyms: rule, govern, manage

  2. to hold in check; curb:

    to control a horse;

    to control one's emotions.

    Synonyms: constrain, bridle, restrain

  3. to test or verify (a scientific experiment) by a parallel experiment or other standard of comparison.
  4. to eliminate or prevent the flourishing or spread of:

    to control a forest fire.

  5. Biology. (of an organism) to initiate an internal response to external stimuli.
  6. Obsolete. to check or regulate (transactions), originally by means of a duplicate register.


  1. the act or power of controlling; regulation; domination or command:

    Who's in control here?

    Synonyms: mastery, rule, reign, dominion

  2. the situation of being under the regulation, domination, or command of another:

    The car is out of control.

  3. check or restraint:

    Her anger is under control.

  4. a legal or official means of regulation or restraint:

    to institute wage and price controls.

  5. a person who acts as a check; controller.
  6. a device for regulating and guiding a machine, as a motor or airplane.
  7. controls, a coordinated arrangement of such devices.
  8. prevention of the flourishing or spread of something undesirable:

    rodent control.

  9. Biology. an organism’s ability to initiate an internal response to external stimuli ( regulation ).
  10. Baseball. the ability of a pitcher to throw the ball into the strike zone consistently:

    The rookie pitcher has great power but no control.

  11. Philately. any device printed on a postage or revenue stamp to authenticate it as a government issue or to identify it for bookkeeping purposes.
  12. a spiritual agency believed to assist a medium at a séance.
  13. the supervisor to whom an espionage agent reports when in the field.

verb phrase

  1. Statistics. to account for (variables in an analysis) by limiting the data under consideration to a comparison of like things:

    to control for demographic factors.


/ kənˈtrəʊl /


  1. to command, direct, or rule

    to control a country

  2. to check, limit, curb, or regulate; restrain

    to control a fire

    to control one's emotions

  3. to regulate or operate (a machine)
  4. to verify (a scientific experiment) by conducting a parallel experiment in which the variable being investigated is held constant or is compared with a standard
    1. to regulate (financial affairs)
    2. to examine and verify (financial accounts)
  5. to restrict or regulate the authorized supply of (certain substances, such as drugs)


  1. power to direct or determine

    under control

    out of control

  2. a means of regulation or restraint; curb; check

    a frontier control

  3. often plural a device or mechanism for operating a car, aircraft, etc
  4. a standard of comparison used in a statistical analysis or scientific experiment
    1. a device that regulates the operation of a machine. A dynamic control is one that incorporates a governor so that it responds to the output of the machine it regulates
    2. ( as modifier )

      control panel

      control room

  5. spiritualism an agency believed to assist the medium in a séance
  6. Also calledcontrol mark a letter, or letter and number, printed on a sheet of postage stamps, indicating authenticity, date, and series of issue
  7. one of a number of checkpoints on a car rally, orienteering course, etc, where competitors check in and their time, performance, etc, is recorded


/ kən-trōl /

  1. A standard of comparison for checking or verifying the results of an experiment. In an experiment to test the effectiveness of a new drug, for example, one group of subjects (the control group) receives an inactive substance or placebo , while a comparison group receives the drug being tested.

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Derived Forms

  • conˈtrollable, adjective
  • conˈtrollably, adverb
  • conˌtrollaˈbility, noun

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Other Words From

  • con·trol·la·ble adjective noun
  • con·trol·la·bil·i·ty [k, uh, n-troh-l, uh, -, bil, -i-tee], con·trol·la·ble·ness noun
  • con·trol·la·bly adverb
  • con·trol·less adjective
  • con·trol·ling·ly adverb
  • non·con·trol·la·ble adjective
  • non·con·trol·la·bly adverb
  • non·con·trolled adjective
  • non·con·trol·ling adjective
  • o·ver·con·trol verb (used with object) overcontrolled overcontrolling noun
  • pre·con·trol noun verb (used with object) precontrolled precontrolling
  • qua·si-con·trolled adjective
  • qua·si-con·trol·ling adjective
  • sub·con·trol verb (used with object) subcontrolled subcontrolling
  • su·per·con·trol noun
  • un·con·trolled adjective
  • un·con·trol·ling adjective
  • well-con·trolled adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of control1

First recorded in 1425–75; late Middle English co(u)ntrollen (verb), from Anglo-French contreroller “to keep a duplicate account or roll,” derivative of contrerolle (noun); counter-, roll

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Word History and Origins

Origin of control1

C15: from Old French conteroller to regulate, from contrerolle duplicate register, system of checking, from contre- counter- + rolle roll

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Idioms and Phrases

see out of control ; spin control .

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Example Sentences

Companies like Rice Up still promote rice cakes as a whole-grain option for weight control.

From Eater

I was talking about what we’re doing is under control, but I’m not talking about the virus.

Alexander also requested an extraordinary amount of control over the reports, asking that he be allowed to review them before publication and even make edits.

At the beginning, before anybody knew what it was, I spoke with President Xi, and he said, we are doing it well, we have it under control.

A month later, a Fox News poll found 70 percent of likely voters felt the pandemic was “not at all” or “somewhat” under control.

From there we took the train to Nice, France, but the French border control caught us and sent us back to Italy.

Spin control began, Florida-style: the opinion only covers some counties, some people, some times.

He seemed by all appearances perfectly happy to let the Republicans control the state senate.

The police cannot ultimately control public opinion unilaterally.

So not only will the GOP have control in the Senate, it will move the center of gravity on Capitol Hill hard to starboard.

Solely over one man therein thou hast quite absolute control.

In a few minutes, however, he had it again under control, and they soon reached the berg.

A certain amount of his ill-humour vented, Tressan made an effort to regain his self-control.

The nativesʼ anxiety to oust the Spaniards was far stronger than their wish to be under American, or indeed any foreign, control.

The marvelous improvements in mechanism and tone production and control in 1886 to 1913 by Robt.


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More About Control

What does control mean?

To control is to dominate or command something or someone, as in Tomas showed excellent control of his hand several weeks after his surgery.

As a noun, control can refer to the act of controlling, as in I can’t stand it—my parents have total control over my life!

To control is also to restrain or keep in check, as in Toddlers are not known for control over their emotions.

Control can also refer to keeping something in check. When you keep your emotions under control, you still feel them but you don’t let them overwhelm you.

To control can also mean to eliminate the spread of something, such as with a fire or an illness.

In statistics, to control for means to compare only like data to reduce the number of variables in the comparison.

Example: Who has control of the lights for tonight’s show?

Where does control come from?

The first records of the term control come from the 1400s. It ultimately comes from the Anglo-French contreroller, meaning “to keep a duplicate roll of.”

In the sciences, control takes on another specific definition, meaning “a person, object, or group that is kept in a constant, unchanging state throughout the experiment.” In order to test if an independent variable was actually the cause for a change, a control group that doesn’t have the independent variable is created. This way, the results of both the control group and the testing group can be compared.

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to control?

  • controllable (adjective, noun)
  • controllability (noun)
  • controllably (adverb)
  • controlled (adjective, verb)

What are some synonyms for control?

What are some words that share a root or word element with control?

What are some words that often get used in discussing control?

How is control used in real life?

Control is a common word used to talk about command or restriction in many situations.


Try using control!

Is control used correctly in the following sentence?

My parents gave me control over my college fund, so now I can withdraw money for tuition.

When To Use

What are other ways to say control?

The noun control means “domination or command.” How is control different from authority and influence? Find out on

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




contrivedcontrol account