Etymology
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command (v.)

c. 1300, "order or direct with authority" (transitive), from Old French comander "to order, enjoin, entrust" (12c., Modern French commander), from Vulgar Latin *commandare, from Latin commendare "to recommend, entrust to" (see commend); altered by influence of Latin mandare "to commit, entrust" (see mandate (n.)). In this sense Old English had bebeodan.

Intransitive sense "act as or have authority of a commander, have or exercise supreme power" is from late 14c. Also from late 14c. as "have within the range of one's influence" (of resources, etc.), hence, via a military sense, "have a view of, overlook" in reference to elevated places (1690s). Related: Commanded; commanding.

Command-post "headquarters of a military unit" is from 1918. A command performance (1863) is one given by royal command.

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command (n.)

c. 1400, "an order, a command; what is commanded or ordered," from Old French comand (14c.), from comander "to order, to entrust" (see command (v.)). Meaning "control, right or authority to order or compel obedience" is from mid-15c. Meaning "power of control, mastery" (of a situation, a language, etc.) is from 1640s.

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language (n.)
Origin and meaning of language

late 13c., langage "words, what is said, conversation, talk," from Old French langage "speech, words, oratory; a tribe, people, nation" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *linguaticum, from Latin lingua "tongue," also "speech, language," from PIE root *dnghu- "tongue."

The -u- is an Anglo-French insertion (see gu-); it was not originally pronounced. Meaning "manner of expression" (vulgar language, etc.) is from c. 1300. Meaning "a language," as English, French, Arabic, etc., is from c. 1300; Century Dictionary (1897) defines this as: "The whole body of uttered signs employed and understood by a given community as expressions of its thoughts; the aggregate of words, and of methods of their combination into sentences, used in a community for communication and record and for carrying on the processes of thought." Boutkan (2005) writes: "In general, language unity exists as long as the language is capable of carrying out common innovations, but this does not preclude profound differences among dialects."

In Middle English the word also was used of dialects:

Mercii, þat beeþ men of myddel Engelond[,] vnderstondeþ bettre þe side langages, norþerne and souþerne, þan norþerne and souþerne vnderstondeþ eiþer oþer. [Bartholomew Glanville, "De proprietatibus rerum," c. 1240, translated by John of Trevisa c. 1398]
In oþir inglis was it drawin, And turnid ic haue it til ur awin Language of the norþin lede, Þat can na noþir inglis rede. ["Cursor Mundi," early 14c.]

 Language barrier attested from 1885. 

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proto-language (n.)

"a hypothetical extinct parent language from which existing languages have descended," 1948, from proto- + language.

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sign language (n.)

"system of communication using gestures," especially for communication with and among the deaf, by 1847; see sign (n.). Earlier hand-language (1670s).

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imperative (adj.)

1520s, in grammar, "expressing command," used of the form of a verb which expresses command, entreaty, advice, or exhortation, from Late Latin imperativus "pertaining to a command," from imperat-, past participle stem of imperare "to command, requisition," from assimilated form of in- "into, in" (from PIE root *en "in") + parare "to arrange, prepare, adorn" (from PIE root *pere- (1) "to produce, procure").

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ban (n.1)

c. 1300, "proclamation or edict of an overlord," from Old English (ge)bann "proclamation, summons, command" and cognate Old French ban "decree, announcement," which is from a Germanic language, from Proto-Germanic *bannaz (source also of Old Frisian bon "order, commandment; jurisdiction, penalty; eternal damnation, excommunication," Old Saxon bann "commandment, prohibition"), from *bannan "to speak publicly" (used in reference to various sorts of proclamations), "command; summon; outlaw, forbid" (see ban (v.)).

The meaning "an authoritative prohibition" is from 1660s. There are noun forms in most of the Germanic languages, from the verbs. Compare banns.

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self-possession (n.)

"command of one's emotions or powers, presence of mind, calmness," 1734, from self- + possession (n.). Related: Self-possessed. Self-collected for "in command of one's emotions" is from 1711.

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imperium (n.)

"authority to command the national military forces," in extended use "an empire," 1650s, from Latin imperium "command, supreme authority, power" (see empire). Hence Latin phrase imperium in imperio "a state within a state."

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countermand (v.)

"to revoke (a command or order)," early 15c., contremaunden, from Anglo-French and Old French contremander "reverse an order or command" (13c.), from contre- "against" (see contra (prep., adv.)) + mander, from Latin mandare "to order" (see mandate (n.)). Related: Countermanded; countermanding. As a noun, "a contrary order," 1540s.

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