command

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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

at (one's) command

Among one's available resources or skills. With so much experience at his command, he's definitely the best candidate for the job we're trying to fill.
See also: command

be at (one's) command

To be available to help or serve someone. The resident file clerk is here at your command! How can I help with this project?
See also: command

your wish is my command

Whatever you ask me to do, I will do it; I will happily do the thing you just asked. Usually used humorously or ironically. A: "Honey, would you get me a soda from the kitchen?" B: "Of course, my love, your wish is my command." A: "Go into the shed and fetch me my hammer." B: "Your wish is my command, oh master." A: "Don't sass me, boy, just do it!"
See also: command, wish

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

at your comˈmand

if you have a skill or an amount of something at your command, you are able to use it well and completely: With four European languages at her command, she’s thinking of working for the EU.
See also: command

be at somebody’s comˈmand

(formal) be ready to obey somebody: I’m at your command — what would you like me to do?
See also: command

your wish is my comˈmand

(humorous) I am ready to do anything you ask me to do: ‘Put the kettle on, will you?’ ‘Your wish is my command.’These are the words of the genie (= a spirit with magical powers) in the story about Aladdin in The Thousand and One Nights.
See also: command, wish
References in classic literature ?
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.
Mesthles and Antiphus commanded the Meonians, sons of Talaemenes, born to him of the Gygaean lake.
I desired he would order several sticks of two feet high, and the thickness of an ordinary cane, to be brought me; whereupon his majesty commanded the master of his woods to give directions accordingly; and the next morning six woodmen arrived with as many carriages, drawn by eight horses to each.
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.
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