I am curious what kind of connotation does the word 'Commanding' have. Does it have the same kind of connotation as a leader has of 'strength' and 'maturity'? Or does it have a negative connotation of a 'controlling' and 'bossy' person? Take the example of the following sentence. He has a commanding persona.

Edit: Well, a google search gives me the following sentence here. The previous sentence was self-made but, the term seems to be in use. I don't know where to research about connotations so, this is the first place that I came to. Nevertheless, I did search the term in dictionaries and thesauruses and got words such as 'imposing' (google search definition) and 'dominating' referenced. Wondering if anyone here has any insight. There might as well be no negative connotations attached but, I wanted to know if there were.

  • @user070221 I am familiar with the meaning of the word commanding. But it seems to have two distinct flavors to it. 'He has a commanding persona' is fairly simple to comprehend but it feels different from the sentence 'He is a leader'. I think there is a somewhat negative connotation associated with it. What I meant to ask is whether there is a hidden meaning of a 'controlling' and 'bossy' attitude in the word 'commanding' used in the following context?
    – Gnik
    Aug 4, 2018 at 5:22
  • What did your own research tell you, please? Dictionaries, thesauruses, search engines or the like? Whatever, in 60 years of listening I've only ever heard "commanding" leaning towards 'strength' or 'maturity'; never once 'controlling' or 'bossy'. By the way, where did you find "He has a commanding persona", please? Aug 6, 2018 at 17:01
  • @RobbieGoodwin I edited the question to answer your queries. Hope this helps.
    – Gnik
    Aug 7, 2018 at 11:51
  • Thanks and first, your "following sentence here" link doesn't work and if you'd just posted the text, I wouldn't have had to waste my time finding that out. Aug 9, 2018 at 23:31

1 Answer 1


Commanding, or [command], comes from con/m (with) + mand, at mandare (mandate), from manus, hand.

So, "to command" is like to take something into your own hands, and steer it, like "commanding a military." It can be used metaphorically, such as, "to command someone's attention."

If you took something under your own control ("with your hand," so to speak) in an out of line, or inappropriate manner, then it could be considered brusque, boorish, or of a generally "negative connotation," as you put it. (Like demanding, or domineering, or the non-coincidental idiom off-hand)

However, to do so when it is expected or necessary, such as in the manner of a leader, then "commanding" can be a compliment, akin to firm, steadfast, resolute, hearty, "driven," or the like.

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