Meaning of COMMAND in English


I. com ‧ mand 1 W3 /kəˈmɑːnd $ kəˈmænd/ BrE AmE noun

1 . CONTROL [uncountable] the control of a group of people or a situation

under sb’s command

troops under the command of General Roberts

in command (of something)

Lieutenant Peters was now in command.

He felt fully in command of the situation.

take command (of something) (=begin controlling a group or situation and making decisions)

The fire officer took command, ordering everyone to leave the building.

at sb’s command

Each congressman has a large staff at his command (=available to be used) .

By 1944, Fletcher had command of a B-17 bomber and a ten-man crew.

2 . ORDER [countable] an order that should be obeyed:

Shoot when I give the command.

3 . COMPUTER [countable] an instruction to a computer to do something

4 . command of something knowledge of something, especially a language, or ability to use something

(have a) good/excellent/poor etc command of something

He’s studied in the US and has a good command of English.

5 . MILITARY [ countable also + plural verb British English ]

a) a part of an army, navy etc that is controlled separately and has a particular job:

pilots of the Southern Air Command

b) a group of officers or officials who give orders:

the Army High Command

c) the group of soldiers that an officer is in control of

6 . at your command if you have a particular skill at your command, you are able to use that skill well and easily:

a pianist with the keys at his command

7 . be in command of yourself to be able to control your emotions and thoughts:

Kathleen walked in – tall, slim, confident, and in total command of herself.

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COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)

■ phrases

▪ be in command of something

The Colonel showed that he was in complete command of the situation.

▪ the chain/line of command (=a system of passing decisions from people at the the top to the bottom)

Our company has a traditional management chain of command.

■ verbs

▪ have command

Athens had command of the oceans.

▪ take command (=begin controlling a group or situation)

Captain Kent took command of the Emergency Control Centre.

▪ assume command formal (=start to be in charge of a group of people)

He assumed command of all the troops in the Washington area.

▪ put/place somebody in command

A third goal put Brazil in command of the game.

▪ lose command

The enemy was losing command of the situation.

▪ be relieved of your command formal (=lose your military position because you have done something wrong)

The General was relieved of his command due to misconduct.

■ adjectives

▪ complete/full command

Their fighters had full command of the air over Pearl Harbor.

▪ military command

A large area was already under US military command.

▪ joint command (=shared by two people, countries etc)

Russia and Ukraine had joint command over the Fleet.

▪ sole command (=not shared with anyone)

He was in sole command of a small military unit.

■ command + NOUN

▪ a command structure (=the way in which a military organization is organized into ranks)

Each of our national defence forces has its own command structure.

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COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)

■ verbs

▪ give a command ( also issue a command formal )

The General gave the command to open fire.

▪ obey a command

Your dog will soon learn to obey your commands.

▪ carry out a command (=obey one)

The men carried out the command immediately.

▪ shout a command

Kruger shouted his commands: 'Faster, faster!'

▪ bark a command (=shout one rather rudely)

She just stands there barking commands while everyone works.

II. command 2 BrE AmE verb

[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: comander , from Vulgar Latin commandare , from Latin commendare ( ⇨ ↑ commend ); influenced by Latin mandare 'to order' ]

1 . ORDER [intransitive and transitive] to tell someone officially to do something, especially if you are a military leader, a king etc

command somebody to do something

Captain Picard commanded the crew to report to the main deck.

command that

The General commanded that the regiment attack at once.

2 . LEAD THE MILITARY [intransitive and transitive] to be responsible for giving orders to a group of people in the army, navy etc ⇨ commander :

He commands the 4th Battalion.

3 . DESERVE AND GET [transitive] to get something such as respect or attention because you do something well or are important or popular

command respect/attention/support etc

Philip was a remarkable teacher, able to command instant respect.

command a high fee/wage/price etc

Which graduates command the highest salaries?

4 . CONTROL [transitive] to control something:

The party that commands a majority of seats in Parliament forms the government.

5 . VIEW [transitive] if a place commands a view, you can see something clearly from it:

The Ramses Hilton commands a magnificent view of Cairo.

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■ to tell someone they must do something

▪ order to tell someone that they must do something, using your official power or authority:

A policeman ordered him to stop.


He ordered his men to put down their weapons.


‘Don’t move,’ he ordered.

▪ tell to say to someone that they must do something:

Stop telling me what to do!


The headmaster told me to wait outside his office.

▪ give orders/instructions to tell someone exactly what they must do:

The police chief gave orders to shoot.


The doctor gave instructions that she should rest as much as possible.

▪ command used about a high-ranking person such as a general, captain, or king ordering someone to do something:

The general commanded the troops to fall back.


They believe that the Lord has commanded them to do this.

▪ instruct formal to tell someone to do something, especially when you tell them exactly how it should be done:

The architect was instructed to keep the plans simple.


She took three tablets every day, as instructed by her doctor.

▪ direct to give someone an official or legal order to do something:

The judge directed the jury to find her not guilty.

▪ subpoena /səˈpiːnə, səb-/ to officially order someone to appear in a court of law in order to answer questions:

Another three of the President’s advisors were subpoenaed.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.