Meaning of COMMAND in English


I. kəˈmand, -maa(ə)nd, -mȧnd verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English comanden, from Old French comander to command, commend, from (assumed) Vulgar Latin commandare, alteration (influenced by Latin mandare to commit to one's charge, order) of Latin commendare to commend, command — more at commend

transitive verb

1. : to direct authoritatively : order , enjoin

the doctrine of that church commanded man to love God with his whole soul — Stringfellow Barr

2. : to exercise a dominating influence over : have within ones's authority, control, or power: as

a. : to rule over, dominate, control, or govern authoritatively, without question or opposition

England … had long commanded the European market for raw wool — G.M.Trevelyan

those young boys who have inherited great fortunes which they own but cannot command — Van Wyck Brooks

b. : to have at one's immediate bidding or disposal

the produce of other men's labor which it enables him to purchase or command — Adam Smith

c. : to be able readily to call forth, evoke, exact, or compel, typically by some right or due

the courage can scarcely fail to command our admiration — Virginia Woolf

a successful pugilist commands far higher terms for giving tuition in boxing than a tutor at one of the universities — G.B.Shaw

d. : to face, front on, or overlook so as to afford full view of

the wide and peaceful rural landscape commanded by the cottage — Joseph Conrad

e. : to dominate by strategic position, by fire, or by observation

Fort Amsterdam, whose four bastions … commanded both the North and East rivers — American Guide Series: New York City

this island, which commands one of the principal passages from the Atlantic to the Caribbean sea — F.J.Haskin

f. : to constitute the passageway or chief passageway to

the hallway commands the entrances to all the upstairs rooms

g. : to have military or naval command of as senior officer

h. : to hold the controlling cards of (a suit) in a card game

3. : to cause or direct to come or go : summon , dispatch , send

I will command my blessing upon you — Lev 25:21 (Revised Standard Version)

4. obsolete : to order or request to be given

intransitive verb

1. : to have or to exercise direct authority : govern

2. : to give an order or orders

3. : to be commander

the general will command in person at the western front

4. : to dominate as if from an elevated position

far and wide his eyes commands — John Milton


charge , order , enjoin , direct , instruct , bid : in the meaning of issuing commands or orders, these words are often interchangeable. command is used in situations in which great or high authority is involved officially or formally

as sovereign lord he can command — S.T.Coleridge

the chairman commands the undertaking — Estes Kefauver

charge suggests a formal or solemn order with connotations of duty and responsibility

the Marine Hospital service was charged with the duty of recommending for rejection immigrants afflicted with loathsome or contagious diseases — V.G.Heiser

Gustavus … considered himself charged by God with the defense of the true Lutheran faith — Stringfellow Barr

order may indicate a specific or routine command or direction from one having due authority or right

many of the managing posts will be filled up by pig-headed people only because they happen to have the habit of ordering poor people about — G.B.Shaw

enjoin suggests an order or direction given authoritatively and urgently but with some admonition, sententiousness, or solicitude

I enjoin upon all citizens to cooperate with the government in its endeavor to restore greater respect for law and order — F.D.Roosevelt

St. Peter admirably enjoins us to be ready always to give an answer to every man thats asks us a reason for the faith that is in us — J.L.Lowes

direct may suggest either a routine or an especially mandatory order often on specific points of procedure or activity

why otherwise does it [the Constitution] direct the judges to take an oath to support it? — John Marshall

it is hoped that President Eisenhower will direct Ambassador Lodge to propose such action — Nation

instruct may suggest an authoritative order, perhaps a formal one, delivered with care about its being fully understood

“Don't waste oil”, Miss Hannah had been instructed long ago — Margaret Deland

Marvin was instructed … to uproot nothing until it was proved to have no remedial property — Mary Austin

bid is likely to sound archaic or literary; it may indicate either a mild or a peremptory command

the … Curate doth bid the Man to put a Ring on the Woman's fourth finger — George Meredith

he seized him by the collar and sternly bade him cease making a fool of himself — G.B.Shaw

II. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle French comand, comande, from comander, v.

1. : the act of commanding

the troops shall march at command


a. : an order given : mandate , commandment

b. : a word or phrase especially in a set form by which an order is given

at the command “halt” all troops will stop immediately


a. : the ability to control or the faculty of controlling : mastery

the teacher has given evidence of command in her classes

lose command of one's temper

b. : the authority or right to command conferred by official position

the captain is in command of the ship


(1) : the power to dominate, control, or overlook

the fort has command of the valley

(2) : scope of vision : prospect

the tower provided a wide command of neighboring hills

d. : facility in use (as of a language)

a good command of French

4. : a body of persons (as military troops), an area, or a particular unit, usually military, under one in command

a top-ranking officer in the Middle East command

police put all commands on alert against possible disorders or vandalism — Springfield (Massachusetts) Union

— compare air command

5. : height above the ground or the level commanded by a fortification or a gun


a. : the possession of the highest card or cards of a suit in a card game

b. : the highest card remaining unplayed in any suit

7. contact bridge : demand bid

Synonyms: see power

- at command

III. adjective

: presented (as a stage play) or completed (as a study) as a result of a compelling command or request or of great need

a command performance of the play for the queen

a command study for the air force of the psychological makeup of good fliers

IV. noun

1. : an electrical or electronic signal that actuates a device (as a control mechanism in a spacecraft or one step in a computer)

2. : the activation of a device in or the control of a vehicle (as a spacecraft) by means of a command

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.