commanders chief

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:
1635–45

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World English Dictionary
commander in chief
 
n , 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 10th Edition
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Cultural Dictionary

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
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