[kuh n-trohld]


held in check; curbed: poorly controlled anger.
carefully regulated, tested, or verified: a controlled experiment.
(of a drug) restricted by law as to possession and use: Morphine is a controlled drug.

Origin of controlled

1580–90 control + -ed2



verb (used with object), con·trolled, con·trol·ling.

to exercise restraint or direction over; dominate; command: The car is difficult to control at high speeds. That zone is controlled by enemy troops.
to hold in check; curb: to control a horse; to control one's emotions.
to test or verify (a scientific experiment) by a parallel experiment or other standard of comparison.
to eliminate or prevent the flourishing or spread of: to control a forest fire.
Obsolete. to check or regulate (transactions), originally by means of a duplicate register.


the act or power of controlling; regulation; domination or command: Who's in control here?
the situation of being under the regulation, domination, or command of another: The car is out of control.
check or restraint: Her anger is under control.
a legal or official means of regulation or restraint: to institute wage and price controls.
a person who acts as a check; controller.
a device for regulating and guiding a machine, as a motor or airplane.
controls, a coordinated arrangement of such devices.
prevention of the flourishing or spread of something undesirable: rodent control.
Baseball. the ability of a pitcher to throw the ball into the strike zone consistently: The rookie pitcher has great power but no control.
Philately. any device printed on a postage or revenue stamp to authenticate it as a government issue or to identify it for bookkeeping purposes.
a spiritual agency believed to assist a medium at a séance.
the supervisor to whom an espionage agent reports when in the field.

Verb Phrases

control for, 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.

Origin of control

1425–75; late Middle English co(u)ntrollen (v.) < Anglo-French contreroller to keep a duplicate account or roll, derivative of contrerolle (noun). See counter-, roll
Related formscon·trol·la·ble, adjective, nouncon·trol·la·bil·i·ty, con·trol·la·ble·ness, nouncon·trol·la·bly, adverbcon·trol·less, adjectivecon·trol·ling·ly, adverbnon·con·trol·la·ble, adjectivenon·con·trol·la·bly, adverbnon·con·trolled, adjectivenon·con·trol·ling, adjectiveo·ver·con·trol, verb (used with object), o·ver·con·trolled, o·ver·con·trol·ling, nounpre·con·trol, noun, verb (used with object), pre·con·trolled, pre·con·trol·ling.qua·si-con·trolled, adjectivequa·si-con·trol·ling, adjectivesub·con·trol, verb (used with object), sub·con·trolled, sub·con·trol··per·con·trol, nounun·con·trolled, adjectiveun·con·trol·ling, adjectivewell-con·trolled, adjective

Synonyms for control

Synonym study

6. See authority. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for controlled

Contemporary Examples of controlled

Historical Examples of controlled

  • Then, he made a great effort, and controlled his emotion to some extent.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • When after a moment she rose, she was controlled again, calm, very white.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • She almost choked, but, making a great effort, she controlled herself.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • Hamish controlled his emotion better than did the Rev. Mr. Pye.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

  • Her lip trembled a little, but she controlled it before she spoke.

    Alice Adams

    Booth Tarkington

British Dictionary definitions for controlled


verb -trols, -trolling or -trolled (tr)

to command, direct, or ruleto control a country
to check, limit, curb, or regulate; restrainto control one's emotions; to control a fire
to regulate or operate (a machine)
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)
to restrict or regulate the authorized supply of (certain substances, such as drugs)


power to direct or determineunder control; out of control
a means of regulation or restraint; curb; checka frontier control
(often plural) a device or mechanism for operating a car, aircraft, etc
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
spiritualism an agency believed to assist the medium in a séance
Also called: control mark a letter, or letter and number, printed on a sheet of postage stamps, indicating authenticity, date, and series of issue
one of a number of checkpoints on a car rally, orienteering course, etc, where competitors check in and their time, performance, etc, is recorded
Derived Formscontrollable, adjectivecontrollability or controllableness, nouncontrollably, adverb

Word Origin for control

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

1580s, past participle adjective from control (v.). Of rent, from c.1930.



early 14c., "to check, verify, regulate," from Anglo-French contreroller "exert authority," from Medieval Latin contrarotulus "a counter, register," from Latin contra- "against" (see contra) + rotulus, diminutive of rota "wheel" (see roll (n.)). From a medieval method of checking accounts by a duplicate register. Sense of "dominate, direct" is mid-15c. Related: Controlled; controlling.

Control group in scientific experiments is attested from 1952 (from a sense of control attested since 1875).



1580s, from control (v.). Control freak is late 1960s slang.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for controlled




To verify or regulate a scientific experiment by conducting a parallel experiment or by comparing with another standard.
To hold in restraint; check.


A standard of comparison for checking or verifying the results of an experiment.
An individual or group used as a standard of comparison in a control experiment.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for controlled



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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with controlled


see out of control; spin control.

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