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commander in chief

noun, plural commanders in chief.
1.
Also, Commander in Chief. the supreme commander of the armed forces of a nation or, sometimes, of several allied nations:
The president is the Commander in Chief of the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force.
2.
an officer in command of a particular portion of an armed force who has been given this title by specific authorization.
Origin
1635-1645
1635-45
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for commander in chief
  • The commander in chief's mood was as bleak as the landscape.
  • In theory, a commander in chief should even be able to order a nuclear strike from the helicopter.
  • Approval for any such order would have to come from the commander in chief.
  • Critics of the statute insist that it impinges on the president's inherent powers as commander in chief.
  • Only to point out that it isn't inconsequential when the commander in chief breaks the law.
  • Most legislators fear the political costs of bucking the commander in chief when the nation appears under threat.
  • But you were the commander in chief and president, and these were presidential-level decisions.
  • Throughout the war he was not only the actual commander in chief, but the director of our diplomacy.
  • The first duty of a soldier is to obey her commander in chief.
  • It is his duty to conduct the war in a manner consistent with being the commander in chief: win it, or stop it.
British Dictionary definitions for commander in chief

commander in chief

noun (pl) commanders in chief
1.
the officer holding supreme command of the forces in an area or operation
2.
the officer holding command of a major subdivision of one military service
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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commander in chief in Culture

commander in chief definition


The role of the United States president as highest ranking officer in the armed forces. The Constitution provides this power, but, through the system of checks and balances, gives Congress the authority to declare war. During periods of war, presidents such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, George H. W. Bush, William Jefferson Clinton, and George W. Bush have taken active roles as commander in chief.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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16
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