From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From Middle English commanden, commaunden, comaunden, comanden, from Old French comander, from Late Latin commandāre, from Latin commendāre. Compare commend (a doublet), and mandate.



command (countable and uncountable, plural commands)

  1. An order to do something.
    I was given a command to cease shooting.
  2. The right or authority to order, control or dispose of; the right to be obeyed or to compel obedience.
    to have command of an army
    • 1822, Alden Bradford, History of Massachusetts ..., Richardson and Lord, page 41:
      GAGE, at that time, had command of troops near the lakes; and fearing an attack from the Indians, had called for some new recruits from Massachusetts; but the Assembly judged them not necessary.
    • 2013, Barry Strauss, Masters of Command: Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, and the Genius of ..., Simon and Schuster, →ISBN, page 68:
      It wasn't a decisive operation, and Carthage still had command of Spain.
  3. power of control, direction or disposal; mastery.
    he had command of the situation
    England has long held command of the sea
    a good command of language
    • 1985, Peter Iverson, The Plains Indians of the Twentieth Century, University of Oklahoma Press, →ISBN, page 93:
      The Indians had command of the lands and the waters — command of all their beneficial use, whether kept for hunting, 'and grazing roving herds of stock,' or turned to agriculture and the arts of civilization.
  4. A position of chief authority; a position involving the right or power to order or control.
    General Smith was placed in command.
  5. The act of commanding; exercise or authority of influence.
    • 1851, Herbert Spencer, Social Statics, page 180:
      Command cannot be otherwise than savage, for it implies an appeal to force, should force be needful.
  6. (military) A body or troops, or any naval or military force, under the control of a particular officer; by extension, any object or body in someone's charge.
  7. Dominating situation; range or control or oversight; extent of view or outlook.
  8. (computing) A directive to a computer program acting as an interpreter of some kind, in order to perform a specific task.
  9. (baseball) The degree of control a pitcher has over his pitches.
    He's got good command tonight.
  10. A command performance.
    • 1809, Dorothy Jordan, letter, cited in Claire Tomalin, Mrs Jordan's Profession, Penguin 2012, p. 220:
      Atkinson [] had hinted to me that the Duke of Richmond was so delighted with my acting that he should not be surprised if there was a second command.

Derived terms[edit]


See also[edit]



command (third-person singular simple present commands, present participle commanding, simple past and past participle commanded)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To order, give orders; to compel or direct with authority.
    The soldier was commanded to cease firing.
    The king commanded his servant to bring him dinner.
  2. (transitive, intransitive) To have or exercise supreme power, control or authority over, especially military; to have under direction or control.
    to command an army or a ship
  3. (transitive) To require with authority; to demand, order, enjoin.
    he commanded silence
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], →OCLC, Matthew 4:3:
      If thou be the son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
    • 2013 August 20, Louise Taylor, The Guardian[1]:
      The reasons for this growing disconnect are myriad and complex but the situation is exacerbated by the reality that those English players who do smash through our game's "glass ceiling" command radically inflated transfer fees.
  4. (transitive) to dominate through ability, resources, position etc.; to overlook.
    Bridges commanded by a fortified house. (Motley.)
  5. (transitive) To exact, compel or secure by influence; to deserve, claim.
    A good magistrate commands the respect and affections of the people.
    Justice commands the respect and affections of the people.
    The best goods command the best price.
    This job commands a salary of £30,000.
  6. (transitive) To hold, to control the use of.
    The fort commanded the bay.
    • 1856, John Lothrop Motley, The Rise of the Dutch Republic. A History. [], volumes (please specify |volume=I to III), New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, [], →OCLC:
      Two wooden bridges led across the river; each was commanded by a fortified house
    • c. 1602, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Troylus and Cressida”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene ii]:
      Up to the eastern tower, / Whose height commands as subject all the vale.
    • December 1699, Joseph Addison, letter to William Congreve
      One [side] commands a view of the finest garden.
    • 1834, The Hobart Town Magazine, volume 2, page 323:
      [] they made considerable progress in the art of embalming the wild fruits of their native land, so that they might command cranberries and hindberries at all times and seasons.
  7. (transitive, intransitive, archaic) To have a view (of), as from a superior position.
  8. (obsolete) To direct to come; to bestow.



Derived terms[edit]