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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

The hierarchy of people with authority in a particular setting or situation. I know I can't complain to the CEO directly, but there must be someone in the chain of command that I can talk to!
See also: chain, command, of

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, that

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 ?
He then commanded his general (who was an old experienced leader, and a great patron of mine) to draw up the troops in close order, and march them under me; the foot by twenty-four abreast, and the horse by sixteen, with drums beating, colours flying, and pikes advanced.
I made my acknowledgements by prostrating myself at his majesty's feet: but he commanded me to rise; and after many gracious expressions, which, to avoid the censure of vanity, I shall not repeat, he added, "that he hoped I should prove a useful servant, and well deserve all the favours he had already conferred upon me, or might do for the future.
Thoas, son of Andraemon, commanded the Aetolians, who dwelt in Pleuron, Olenus, Pylene, Chalcis by the sea, and rocky Calydon, for the great king Oeneus had now no sons living, and was himself dead, as was also golden-haired Meleager, who had been set over the Aetolians to be their king.
These were commanded by Tlepolemus, son of Hercules by Astyochea, whom he had carried off from Ephyra, on the river Selleis, after sacking many cities of valiant warriors.
And those that held Nisyrus, Crapathus, and Casus, with Cos, the city of Eurypylus, and the Calydnian islands, these were commanded by Pheidippus and Antiphus, two sons of King Thessalus the son of Hercules.
Those, again, of Tricca and the stony region of Ithome, and they that held Oechalia, the city of Oechalian Eurytus, these were commanded by the two sons of Aesculapius, skilled in the art of healing, Podalirius and Machaon.
Priam's son, great Hector of the gleaming helmet, commanded the Trojans, and with him were arrayed by far the greater number and most valiant of those who were longing for the fray.
Acamas and the warrior Peirous commanded the Thracians and those that came from beyond the mighty stream of the Hellespont.
The Paphlagonians were commanded by stout-hearted Pylaemanes from Enetae, where the mules run wild in herds.
He did not command that, general; he commanded us to bring him to the camp; but the count was not willing to follow us.
Dorothy rode the Sawhorse, while the Scarecrow walked and commanded the army in the absence of the Tin Woodman.
Your highest thought, however, ye shall have it commanded unto you by me-- and it is this: man is something that is to be surpassed.
The Diamond fell into the possession of Tippoo, Sultan of Seringapatam, who caused it to be placed as an ornament in the handle of a dagger, and who commanded it to be kept among the choicest treasures of his armoury.
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