Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Someone who has an obsessive or compulsive need to control every aspect of a situation and/or the ways in which others act. My father can be such a control freak sometimes, always dictating how I should be living my life. Janice is a real control freak—she wouldn't even let me help her vacuum the carpet!
The efforts made to reduce, negate, or counteract damage, loss, or any other unfavorable outcome. The IT department was on serious damage control after it became apparent that our servers had been hacked. The senator has been doing damage control ever since he let slip racist remarks during a television interview.
A drug whose availability is limited by law. A: "I thought you could just find your medication on the shelf at the pharmacy." B: "Nah, I'm on a new one, and it's a controlled substance, so I have a prescription for it." I'm really glad I didn't follow in my brother's footsteps and become addicted to controlled substances.
1. In charge; possessing the final authority in a hierarchy or situation. Who's in control here? I want to talk to the ranking officer.
2. Confident and capable, often when faced with a stressful situation. Your mother was terrified when she first learned to drive, but now she is completely in control behind the wheel.
bring someone or something under one's control
to achieve dominion over someone or something. The dictator was at last able to bring the army under his control. Harry could not bring Ron under his control. Walter could not be brought under Lily's control.
*control over someone or something
the power to direct or manage someone or something. (*Typically: get ~; have ~; give someone ~.) I have no control over Mary. I can't stop her from running away. Who gave you control over what goes on in this house?
control the purse stringsand hold the purse strings
Fig. to be in charge of the money in a business or a household. I control the purse strings at our house. Mr. Williams is the treasurer. He controls the purse strings.
exercise power over
someone or something and exercise control over someone or something; exercise influence over someone or something to have someone or something under one's control or influence. The dictator exercised power over the island for many years. See if you can exercise some control over your appetite. I wish I could exercise some influence over the committee.
in control of someone or something
1. in charge of someone or something. Who is in control of this place? I am not in control of her. She works for another department.
2. to have someone or something mastered or subdued; to have achieved management of someone or something. You should be in control of your dog at all times. The attendant was instructed to be in control of his patient at all times.
*out of control
1. Lit. [of something, such as a machine] not responding to direction or instructions. (*Typically: be ~; go ~.) The computer is out of control and making funny-looking characters all over the screen. My CD player is out of control and only makes screeching noises.
2. and *out of hand Fig. acting wildly or violently. (*Typically: be ~; get ~.) Watch out, that dog is out of control. The kids got out of hand again.
rage out of control
to become uncontrollable. The fire raged out of control and threatened the residential area. If we didn't do something quickly, the fire would be raging out of control.
take control of someone or something
to get the power and right to direct someone or something. I will take control of him and see that he does what I want. Will you take control of the Wilson project?
Fig. manageable; restrained and controlled; not out of control. (*Typically: be ~; bring someone or something ~; get someone or something ~; have someone or something ~; keep someone or something ~.) We finally got things under control and functioning smoothly. The doctor felt she had the disease under control and that I would get well soon.
out of control
unable to be managed or limited The weeds in the garden are out of control.
Measures to minimize or curtail loss or harm. For example, As soon as they discovered the leak to the press, the senator's office worked night and day on damage control . Used literally since the 1950s, specifically for limiting the effect of an accident on a ship, this term began to be used figuratively in the 1970s.
out of control
Also, out of hand. No longer under management, direction, or regulation; unmanageable or unruly. For example, Housing costs are out of control, or The children were getting out of hand again. The first term uses control in the sense of "restraint," a usage dating from the late 1500s; the variant uses hand in the sense of "power" or "authority," and dates from the late 1800s.
Manipulation of news, especially political news, as in The White House press secretary is a master of spin control. This idiom uses spin in the sense of "interpretation," that is, how something will be interpreted by the public (also see put a spin on). [c. 1980] Also see spin doctor.