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command performance

1. A performance, such as a play, ballet, opera, etc., that is presented at the behest of royalty or a head of government. The theater troupe was always at the ready to give a command performance, should the queen so desire it.
2. By extension, any task or activity (typically outside of normal work duties) that one undertakes or performs at the request of someone in a position of authority. When I was an intern, I always had to give command performances for visiting businessmen, such as taking them out to dinner or arranging entertainment for them during their stay.
3. Any obligatory occasion or situation that one is required or expected to attend, as at the behest of an employer or person of authority. These fundraising dinners, though technically "optional," are really command performances for the members of staff.
See also: command

chain of command

Fig. the series or sequence of holders of responsibility in a hierarchy. The only way to get things done in the military is to follow the chain of command. Never try to go straight to the top.
See also: chain, command, of

have a good command of something

to know something well. Bill has a good command of French. Jane has a good command of economic theory.
See also: command, good, have, of

He that cannot obey cannot command.

Prov. If you want to become a leader, you should first learn how to follow someone else. Jones can't seem to do anything I ask him to. He'll never get anywhere; he that cannot obey cannot command.
See also: cannot, command, he

command performance

An occasion that one is obliged to attend, as in My boss's invitations to dinner are always a command performance. This term originally (late 1800s) denoted a theatrical or musical performance presented at the behest of a sovereign or head of state. By the 1930s it was also used figuratively for any more or less obligatory occasion or performance.
See also: command

have a good command of

Have the ability to use or control; have mastery of. For example, She has a remarkably good command of Japanese, or He had a good command of his emotions. [Mid-1600s]
See also: command, good, have, of
References in classic literature ?
Listen; this is not a command, but advice I give you.
Raising my voice to its utmost, I shouted my command to the dwars ahead of me.
The General who is to command my armies must promise to carry out my orders.
So he told another courtier to go to the Simpleton with the command that he and his comrades were instantly to eat up twelve oxen and twelve tons of bread.
As on former occasions, the quick-eared comrade had overheard the King's command and repeated it to the Simpleton.
6, it was declared to be in the king alone, for that the sole supreme government and command of the militia within his Majesty's realms and dominions, and of all forces by sea and land, and of all forts and places of strength, EVER WAS AND IS the undoubted right of his Majesty and his royal predecessors, kings and queens of England, and that both or either house of Parliament cannot nor ought to pretend to the same.
Partly, perhaps, for this reason, but much more on account of his inefficiency as a general, he was deprived of his command in 1756, and recalled to England.
With them in command was Euryalus, son of king Mecisteus, son of Talaus; but Diomed was chief over them all.
Remain where you are, sir," said Monk, in a tone of command.
exclaimed Dorothy; "indeed, it is of no use to me now, and when you have it you can command the Winged Monkeys three times.
Among the field guns on the brow of the hill the general in command of the rearguard stood with a staff officer, scanning the country through his fieldglass.
The major understood, and turning his horse rode back to the little group that had followed him and was already moving to the rear in fear of his displeasure, and so returned to the head of his command.
Evidently the Nome King had made this last attempt to prevent their escaping him; but it did him no good, for when Dorothy saw the danger they were in she stopped and waved her hand and whispered a command to the magic belt.
That I have passed through the most wondrous adventures that have befallen a civilized man during the past two centuries encourages me in the belief that, however ill the telling, the facts themselves will command your interest to the final page.
At his command havoc and rapine were let loose once more among the temples of the worship of Brahmah.