from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To exercise authoritative or dominating influence over; direct: synonym: conduct.
  • transitive verb To adjust to a requirement; regulate.
  • transitive verb To hold in restraint; check.
  • transitive verb To reduce or prevent the spread of.
  • transitive verb To verify or regulate (a scientific experiment) by conducting a parallel experiment or by comparing with another standard.
  • transitive verb To verify (a financial account, for example) by using a duplicate register for comparison.
  • noun Authority or ability to manage or direct.
  • noun One that controls; a controlling agent, device, or organization.
  • noun An instrument.
  • noun A set of such instruments.
  • noun A restraining device, measure, or limit; a curb.
  • noun A standard of comparison for checking or verifying the results of a scientific experiment.
  • noun An individual or group used as a standard of comparison in a scientific experiment, as a group of subjects given an inactive substance in an experiment testing a new drug administered to another group of subjects.
  • noun An intelligence agent who supervises or instructs another agent.
  • noun A spirit presumed to speak or act through a medium.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To check or ascertain the accuracy of, as by a counter-register or double account, or by experiment.
  • To prove by counter-statements; confute; convict.
  • To exercise control over; hold in restraint or check; subject to authority; direct; regulate; govern; dominate.
  • To have superior force or authority over; overpower.
  • Synonyms 3. Rule, Regulate, etc. (see govern), curb, restrain, direct.
  • noun A book-register or account kept to correct or check another account or register; a counter-register.
  • noun Check; restraint: as, to speak or act without control; to keep the passions under control.
  • noun . The act or power of keeping under check or in order; power of direction or guidance; authority; regulation; government; command.
  • noun Synonyms Influence, Ascendancy, etc. (see authority), direction, charge, regulation.
  • noun Whatever serves to control or check; particularly, a standard of comparison by which, as in scientific investigation or experiment, inferences or results already obtained are checked.
  • noun A person or persons who control a business, or act as a check on others concerned.
  • noun In spiritualism, the supposed spirit who is alleged to control or direct the action and utterances of a medium.
  • noun In racing with motor-cars or motor-cycles, the authorized persons along the route who observe and record the times of arrival and departure of the cars, maintain the time and rate schedule if there is any, and enforce the regulations of the contest.
  • Of the nature of or used as a control.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun obsolete A duplicate book, register, or account, kept to correct or check another account or register; a counter register.
  • noun That which serves to check, restrain, or hinder; restraint.
  • noun Power or authority to check or restrain; restraining or regulating influence; superintendence; government.
  • noun (Mach.), (Aëronautics) The complete apparatus used to control a mechanism or machine in operation, as a flying machine in flight
  • noun (Climatology) Any of the physical factors determining the climate of any particular place, as latitude,distribution of land and water, altitude, exposure, prevailing winds, permanent high- or low-barometric-pressure areas, ocean currents, mountain barriers, soil, and vegetation.
  • noun (Technology) in research, an object or subject used in an experimental procedure, which is treated identically to the primary subject of the experiment, except for the omission of the specific treatment or conditions whose effect is being investigated. If the control is a group of living organisms, as is common in medical research, it is called the control group.
  • noun (Technology) the part of an experimental procedure in which the controls{6} are subjected to the experimental conditions.
  • noun the group of technical specialists exercising control by remote communications over a distant operation, such as a space flight.
  • noun See under Board.
  • transitive verb obsolete To check by a counter register or duplicate account; to prove by counter statements; to confute.
  • transitive verb To exercise restraining or governing influence over; to check; to counteract; to restrain; to regulate; to govern; to overpower.
  • transitive verb to assure the validity of an experimental procedure by using a control{7}.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb To exercise influence over, to suggest or dictate the behavior of, oversit.
  • noun Influence or authority over.
  • noun A separate group or subject in an experiment against which the results are compared where the primary variable is low or nonexistence.
  • noun The method and means of governing the performance of any apparatus, machine or system, such as a lever, handle or button.
  • noun restraint or ability to contain one's emotions, or self-control.
  • noun A security mechanism, policy, or procedure that can counter system attack, reduce risks, and resolve vulnerabilities; a safeguard or countermeasure.


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

[Middle English controllen, from Anglo-Norman contreroller, from Medieval Latin contrārotulāre, to check by duplicate register, from contrārotulus, duplicate register : Latin contrā-, contra- + Latin rotulus, roll, diminutive of rota, wheel; see ret- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English conterrolle, from Old French contrerole, from Medieval Latin contrarotulum ("a counter-roll or register used to verify accounts"), from Latin contra ("against, opposite") + Medieval Latin rotulus, Latin rotula ("roll, a little wheel"), diminutive of rota ("a wheel").


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  • If she can't control her campaign how the heck can she * control* the giant bureacracy that is our government?

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  • Grant it; and for the very same reason we wish steam with all the world; not that we may control the world, for this is costly and unremunerative, as Great Britain finds; but to conform it, and especially to _control_ its commerce.

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  • The captain, must, therefore, control the company through the platoon commanders -- that is to say, he _actually directs_ the fire and the platoon commanders, assisted by the squad leaders, _actually control_ it.

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  • These are the consequences inevitable to our public peace, from the scheme of rendering the executory government at once odious and feeble; of freeing administration from the constitutional and salutary control of Parliament, and inventing for it a _new control_, unknown to the constitution, an _interior cabinet_; which brings the whole body of government into confusion and contempt.

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  • Power grids fail, ­chemical plants ­explode, air traffic control systems break down, ­satellites spin out of ­control and so on. - Home

  • And as to the second point -- to wit, the failure on the part of the shipper to divest himself of the title and control of the property by a proper bill of lading -- see 3rd Phillimore 610-12, as follows, viz.: "In ordinary shipments of goods, unaffected by the foregoing principles, the question of proprietary interest often turns on minute circumstances and distinctions, the general principle being, that if they are going for account of the shipper, or subject _to his order or control_, the property is not divested _in transitu" _ &c.

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  • May he not learn to see and hear them without attempting, or desiring to _control_ them, more than he does his associates, his friends and neighbors on the physical plane, or allowing them to control him? "

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  • In his 1977 book, Dispatches, Michael Herr, who had covered the Vietnam War for Esquire magazine, applied the term control freak to “one of those people who always … had to know what was coming next.”

    The Right Word in the Right Place at the Right Time

  • In his 1977 book, Dispatches, Michael Herr, who had covered the Vietnam War for Esquire magazine, applied the term control freak to “one of those people who always … had to know what was coming next.”

    The Right Word in the Right Place at the Right Time


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