late 15c., "ruling, controlling, directing with authority, of great or controlling importance," present-participle adjective from command (v.). Meaning "nobly dignified, compelling respect, characteristic of one fitted for command" is from 1590s. Meaning "dominant by virtue of size or position" is from 1630s. Related: Commandingly (mid-15c.) "imperiously."
updated on January 28, 2018