Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

control - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun control pronunciation in British English /kənˈtrəʊl/
Word Forms
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    [uncountable] the power to make decisions about something and decide what should happen
    control of: When Marie’s father died, control of the business passed into her hands.
    have control of/over something: Dr Davies believes that children should have control over their own lives.
    take control of something: When we took control of the company, it was losing money.
    gain/lose control of something: Democrats are hoping to gain control of the House of Representatives at the next election.
    be/come under someone’s control: The island is now under French control.
    beyond/outside someone’s control: Decisions on financial matters are outside my control.
  2. 2
    [uncountable] the power to make something such as a vehicle, machine, or animal do what you want
    lose control of something: The driver lost control of the vehicle on an icy road.
    regain control of something: He failed to regain control of the aircraft, and it crashed moments later.
  3. 3
    [countable/uncountable] a law, agreement, or method that limits something
    an international agreement on arms control
    wage and price controls
    control on: new controls on the importing of live animals
    tighter controls on vehicle emissions
  4. 4
    [uncountable] the ability to stop something from increasing or becoming dangerous
    The police were called in to help with crowd control.
    control of: Control of inflation is the government’s top priority.
  5. 5
    [uncountable] the ability to remain calm even when you are feeling upset or angry
    lose control: The defendant had lost control after telling the victim several times to leave him alone.
    keep control: They sat in silence, struggling to keep control of their emotions.
    Synonyms and related words
  6. 6
    [countable] a button or switch that makes a machine do something
    She adjusted the volume control slightly.
    1. a.


      [plural] the instruments used for operating a large vehicle, especially an aircraft
      be at the controls: We were reassured to know that an experienced pilot was now at the controls.
  7. 7
    [countable] science a group of people or things that is compared with the people or things being used in a scientific test in order to show whether the test has an effect or not
    Half of the control group suffered further heart attacks, compared with only 12% of those receiving the treatment.
  8. 8
    [uncountable] the control key on a computer keyboard
    Press ‘control’ and ‘D’ to delete a line.
  9. 9
    [uncountable] the process of checking to make certain that rules or standards are being applied
    It took us two hours to get through passport control.




a course of study which is much shorter than a university course and focuses on the skills you need for a job, especially computer-related skills

BuzzWord Article

Word of the Day


a stupid person

Open Dictionary


an ancient Roman system of underfloor heating, used to heat houses with hot air; from the Latin 'hypocaustum'

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog