from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To direct with authority; give orders to.
  • transitive v. To have control or authority over; rule: a general who commands an army.
  • transitive v. To have at one's disposal: a person who commands seven languages.
  • transitive v. To deserve and receive as due; exact: The troops' bravery commanded respect.
  • transitive v. To exercise dominating, authoritative influence over: "He commands any room he enters” ( Stephen Schiff).
  • transitive v. To dominate by physical position; overlook: a mountain commanding the valley below.
  • intransitive v. To give orders.
  • intransitive v. To exercise authority or control as or as if one is a commander.
  • n. The act of commanding.
  • n. An order given with authority.
  • n. Computer Science A signal that initiates an operation defined by an instruction.
  • n. The authority to command: an admiral in command.
  • n. Possession and exercise of the authority to command: command of the seas.
  • n. Ability to control or use; mastery: command of four languages.
  • n. Dominance by location; extent of view.
  • n. The jurisdiction of a commander.
  • n. A military unit, post, district, or region under the control of one officer.
  • n. A unit of the U.S. Air Force that is larger than an air force.
  • adj. Of, relating to, or constituting a command: command headquarters; a command decision.
  • adj. Done or performed in response to a command: a command performance.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An order, a compelling task given to an inferior or a machine.
  • n. The right or authority to order, control or dispose of; the right to be obeyed or to compel obedience.
  • n. power of control, direction or disposal; mastery.
  • n. A position of chief authority; a position involving the right or power to order or control.
  • n. The act of commanding; exercise or authority of influence.
  • n. 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.
  • n. Dominating situation; range or control or oversight; extent of view or outlook.
  • n. A directive to a computer program acting as an interpreter of some kind, in order to perform a specific task.
  • n. The degree of control a pitcher has over his pitches.
  • v. To order, give orders; to compel or direct with authority.
  • v. To have or exercise supreme power, control or authority over, especially military; to have under direction or control.
  • v. To require with authority; to demand, order, enjoin.
  • v. to dominate through ability, resources, position etc.; to overlook.
  • v. To exact, compel or secure by my moral influence; to deserve, claim.
  • v. To hold, to control the use of

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An authoritative order requiring obedience; a mandate; an injunction.
  • n. The possession or exercise of authority.
  • n. Authority; power or right of control; leadership.
  • n. Power to dominate, command, or overlook by means of position; scope of vision; survey.
  • n. Control; power over something; sway; influence.
  • n. A body of troops, or any naval or military force or post, or the whole territory under the authority or control of a particular officer.
  • intransitive v. To have or to exercise direct authority; to govern; to sway; to influence; to give an order or orders.
  • intransitive v. To have a view, as from a superior position.
  • transitive v. To order with authority; to lay injunction upon; to direct; to bid; to charge.
  • transitive v. To exercise direct authority over; to have control of; to have at one's disposal; to lead.
  • transitive v. To have within a sphere of control, influence, access, or vision; to dominate by position; to guard; to overlook.
  • transitive v. To have power or influence of the nature of authority over; to obtain as if by ordering; to receive as a due; to challenge; to claim.
  • transitive v. To direct to come; to bestow.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To order or direct with authority; give an order or orders to; require obedience of; lay injunction upon; order; charge: with a person as direct object.
  • Specifically To have or to exercise supreme power or authority, especially military or naval authority, over; have under direction or control; determine the actions, use, or course of: as, to command an army or a ship.
  • To require with authority; demand; order; enjoin: with a thing as direct object: as, he commanded silence.
  • To have within the range of one's (its) power or within the sphere of influence; dominate through ability, resources, position, etc., often specifically through military power or position; hence, have within the range of the eye; overlook.
  • To bestow by exercise of controlling power.
  • To exact, compel, or secure by moral influence; challenge; claim: as, a good magistrate commands the respect and affections of the people.
  • To have at one's disposal and service.
  • To intrust; commit; commend. See commend.
  • Synonyms To bid, govern, rule, control. See enjoin.
  • To act as or have the authority of a commander.
  • To exercise influence or power.
  • To be in a superior or commanding position.
  • n. The right or authority to order, control, or dispose of; the right to be obeyed or to compel obedience: as, to have command of an army.
  • n. Possession of controlling authority, force, or capacity; power of control, direction, or disposal; mastery: as, he had command of the situation; England has long held command of the sea; a good command of language.
  • n. A position of chief authority; a position involving the right or power to order or control: as, General Smith was placed in command.
  • n. The act of commanding; exercise of authority or influence.
  • n. The thing commanded or ordered; a commandment; a mandate; an order; word of command.
  • n. A body of troops, or any naval or military force, under the control of a particular officer.
  • n. Dominating situation; range of control or oversight; hence, extent of view or outlook.
  • n. In fortification, the height of the top of a parapet above the plane of its site, or above another work.
  • n. Synonyms and Sway, rule, authority.
  • n. Injunction, charge, direction, behest, bidding, requisition.
  • n. In whist and bridge, the best card of a suit, usually of one which the adversaries are trying to establish.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. exercise authoritative control or power over
  • n. (computer science) a line of code written as part of a computer program
  • n. a position of highest authority
  • n. an authoritative direction or instruction to do something
  • n. great skillfulness and knowledge of some subject or activity
  • n. availability for use
  • v. demand as one's due
  • v. make someone do something
  • n. a military unit or region under the control of a single officer
  • v. be in command of
  • v. look down on
  • n. the power or authority to command


Middle English commaunden, from Old French comander, from Late Latin commandāre : Latin com-, intensive pref.; see com- + Latin mandāre, to entrust; see man-2 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French comander (modern French commander), from Vulgar Latin *commandare, from Latin commendare, from com- + mandare, from mandō ("I order, command"). Compare commend, mandate. (Wiktionary)



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