Etymology: Middle English comanden, from Anglo-French cumander, from Vulgar Latin *commandare, alteration of Latin commendare to commit to one's charge — more at commend
Date: 14th century
1. to direct authoritatively ; order
2. to exercise a dominating influence over ; have command of: as
a. to have at one's immediate disposal <commands many resources> b. to demand or receive as one's due <commands a high fee> c. to overlook or dominate from or as if from a strategic position <a hill that commands the city> d. to have military command of as senior officer <command a regiment> 3. obsolete to order or request to be given intransitive verb 1. to have or exercise direct authority ; govern 2. to give orders 3. to be commander 4. to dominate as if from an elevated place • commandable adjective Synonyms: command, order, bid, enjoin, direct, instruct, charge mean to issue orders. command and order imply authority and usually some degree of formality and impersonality. command stresses official exercise of authority <a general commanding troops>. order may suggest peremptory or arbitrary exercise <ordered his employees about like slaves>. bid suggests giving orders peremptorily (as to children or servants) <she bade him be seated>. enjoin implies giving an order or direction authoritatively and urgently and often with admonition or solicitude <a sign enjoining patrons to be quiet>. direct and instruct both connote expectation of obedience and usually concern specific points of procedure or method, instruct sometimes implying greater explicitness or formality <directed her assistant to hold all calls> <the judge instructed the jury to ignore the remark>. charge adds to enjoin an implication of imposing as a duty or responsibility <charged by the President with a secret mission>. II. noun Date: 15th century 1. a. an order given b. a signal that actuates a device (as a control mechanism in a spacecraft or one step in a computer); also the activation of a device by means of such a signal 2. a. the ability to control ; mastery b. the authority or right to command <the officer in command> c. (1) the power to dominate (2) scope of vision d. facility in use <a good command of French> e. control 1d <a pitcher with good command of his curveball> 3. the act of commanding 4. the personnel, area, or organization under a commander; specifically a unit of the United States Air Force higher than an air force 5. a position of highest usually military authority Synonyms: see power III. adjective Date: 1826 done on command or request <a command performance>
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.