Meaning of “control” in the English Dictionary

"control" in English

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controlverb [ T ]

uk /kənˈtrəʊl/ us /kənˈtroʊl/ -ll-

B1 to order, limit, or rule something, or someone's actions or behaviour:

If you can't control your dog, put it on a lead!
You're going to have to learn to control your temper.
The temperature is controlled by a thermostat.
The laws controlling drugs are very strict in this country.
The government is trying to control spending.

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uk /kənˈtrəʊl/ us /kənˈtroʊl/

control noun (POWER)

B2 [ C or U ] the act of controlling something or someone, or the power to do this:

She doesn't have any control over that child - it's embarrassing.
He wants the government to impose strict controls on dog ownership.
The dictator took control of the country in 1933.
He felt he was losing control of events.
You need to stay in control of your emotions.
The car skidded and went out of control, crashing into an oncoming truck.
There was nothing we could do about it - the situation was out of/beyond/outside our control.
She criticized the police's methods of crowd control.
under control

B2 being dealt with or limited successfully:

It seems that the disease is now under control.
Everything is under control, sir.
It took them two hours to bring/get the fire under control.

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control noun (SWITCH)

B2 [ C ] a switch or other device used to operate a machine such as a vehicle:

The main instruments are in the centre of the control panel.
Captain Firth sat at the controls of the aircraft.

[ C usually singular ] also control key, written abbreviation Ctrl a key on a computer keyboard that you press at the same time as other keys to make the keyboard operate in a particular way:

Press and hold down the control key while you press 9.
I pressed Control Alt Delete but nothing happened.

(Definition of “control” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"control" in American English

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controlnoun [ C/U ]

us /kənˈtroʊl/

the ability or power to decide or strongly influence the particular way in which something will happen or someone will behave, or the condition of having such ability or power:

[ U ] The first few months he was running the company, Randy didn’t really feel in control.
[ U ] The man lost control of his car and crashed into a tree.
[ U ] The fire was out of control for nearly two hours before firefighters were able to get it under control.

A control is a rule or law that sets a limit on something:

[ C ] She argued for tightening controls on air pollution.

controlverb [ T ]

us /kənˈtroʊl/ -ll-

to decide or strongly influence the particular way in which something will happen or someone will behave:

It’s hard to control your temper when you’re two years old.
The temperature is controlled by a thermostat.

(Definition of “control” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"control" in Business English

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controlverb [ T ]

uk /kənˈtrəʊl/ us

to be in charge of something or someone and have the power to make decisions relating to them:

The Chicago-based holding company controls a global network of advertising and public relations agencies.
Within five years the tech firm controlled 60% of the European market.

FINANCE, STOCK MARKET to own the most shares in a company and be the main owner:

Avis' employees control the company through an employee stock option program.

FINANCE, STOCK MARKET to own a particular number of the shares in a company, and be one of its owners:

She controls 7.5% of the company.
control a stake in sth They currently control a 20% stake in the textile firm.

to limit the amount by which something is allowed to change, develop, or increase:

If the program is adopted, the supply and price of sugar will be controlled through subsidies and import quotas.

to deal with a problem or situation successfully and stop it from becoming worse:

control inflation/spending/debts Corporate spending was cut by 15% in an effort to control spiralling debts.

to make a machine, system, process, etc. operate in the way you want it to:

All of the building's lighting and heating systems are controlled automatically.


uk /kənˈtrəʊl/ us

[ U ] the power to give orders, make decisions, and take responsibility for something:

take/keep/gain control of sth Banks threatened to take control of the business.
Both parties are vying for control of the Senate.

[ U ] the ability to make someone or something do what you want:

control over sb/sth Critics claim he was an ineffective manager, with virtually no control over his staff.
seize/take control of sth Malware can seize control of a computer and use it for financial scams.

[ U ] FINANCE, STOCK MARKET a large number of shares owned by one person or group, which gives them power to control its management:

The family plans to sell control of its publishing empire for $2.5 billion.

[ C or U ] a limit on something, or the act of limiting something in order to stop it from becoming worse:

control on sth If the independent operators corner the market there will be very little control on prices.
strict/tight/tough controls Managers need to keep a tight control on costs.
impose/introduce/tighten controls The government imposed controls that required vendors to sell some items below cost price.
relax/remove/loosen control Controls were relaxed so that US manufacturers could participate more aggressively in the international market.

[ C, usually plural ] a switch or a piece of equipment with switches on it, used for operating a machine or vehicle:

The plant was updated with new control panels for its industrial machinery.
Investigators are still trying to determine who was at the controls when the company jet crashed.

[ C ] MARKETING →  control group

[ U ] IT →  control key

in control

controlling something or having the power to control something:

When negotiating a deal, it’s important that you remain calm and in control.
be in control of sth She moved out of Sales and is now in control of the Marketing department.
out of control

if something is out of control, it cannot be dealt with successfully:

be/get/spiral out of control One of their biggest priorities is to prevent costs from getting out of control.
under control

if a situation is under control, it is being dealt with successfully and is unlikely to create any problems:

bring/get/keep sth under control The Fed would likely raise rates gradually to keep inflation under control.

(Definition of “control” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)