The Abbreviation for Commander: What Is It and How Is It Used?

Are you looking for information about the abbreviation for commander? We’ll share the definition of the word and various examples where it has been used in a sentence. We’ll break down the abbreviation of the word and, finally, look at its origin and synonyms.

The word commander functions as a noun.

There are a few different ways to abbreviate the word commander.

These are:

  • COMDR (plural Comdrs.)
  • COMD (plural Comds.)
  • CDR
  • COM


CDR and COM most commonly appear as military codes. When writing in long-form, the abbreviations comdr. and comd. become more common. 

For example:

Comdr. Williams requested backup. 

By order of Comds. O’Sean and Waters, civilians could no longer cross the road after 5 p.m.

The abbreviation for commander is normally used to refer to commanders in the civilian police, military, emergency operations, and the fire department.

The abbreviation may be used on a nameplate or a business card, as well as in newsprint media due to space constraints. Since space is at a premium in journalism, an abbreviation of commander often replaces the entire word.

Outside of headlines and professional titles, commander is usually written in full.

Your writing, at its best

Compose bold, clear, mistake-free, writing with Grammarly's AI-powered writing assistant

Additional Abbreviations for the U.S. Army

Pay GradeTitleAbbreviation
E-2Private 2PV2
E-3Private First ClassPFC
E-6Staff SergeantSSG
E-7Sergeant First ClassSFC
E-8Master SergeantMSG
E-8First Sergeant1SG
E-9Sergeant MajorSGM
E-9Command Sergeant MajorCSM
E-9 SpecialSergeant Major of the ArmySMA
W-1Warrant OfficerWO1
W-2Chief Warrant Officer 2CW2
W-3Chief Warrant Officer 3CW3
W-4Chief Warrant Officer 4CW4
W-5Chief Warrant Officer 5CW5
O-1Second Lieutenant2LT
O-2First Lieutenant1LT
O-5Lieutenant ColonelLTC
O-7Brigadier GeneralBG
O-8Major GeneralMG
O-9Lieutenant GeneralLTG
SpecialGeneral of the ArmyGA

Additional Abbreviations for the U.S. Air Force

Pay GradeTitleAbbreviation
E-1Airman BasicAB
E-3Airman First ClassA1C
E-4Senior Airman or SergeantSrA
E-5Staff SergeantSSgt
E-6Technical SergeantTSgt
E-7Master SergeantMSgt
E-8Senior Master SergeantSMSgt
E-8Senior Master SergeantSMSgt
E-9Chief Master SergeantCMSgt
E-9Command Chief Master SergeantCCM
E-9 SpecialChief Master Sergeant of the Air ForceCMSAF
O-1Second Lieutenant2d Lt
O-2First Lieutenant1st Lt
O-5Lieutenant ColonelLt Col
O-7Brigadier GeneralBrig Gen
O-8Major GeneralMaj Gen
O-9Lieutenant GeneralLt Gen
O-10General Air Force Chief of StaffGen
SpecialGeneral of the Air ForceGOAF

Additional Abbreviations for the U.S. Navy / Coast Guard 

Pay GradeTitleAbbreviation
E-1Seaman RecruitSR
E-2Seaman ApprenticeSA
E-4Petty Officer 3rd ClassPO3
E-5Petty Officer 2nd ClassPO2
E-6Petty Officer 1st ClassPO1
E-7Chief Petty OfficerCPO
E-8Senior Chief Petty OfficerSCPO
E-9Master Chief Petty OfficerMCPO
E-9Command Master Chief Petty OfficerMCPOC
E-9Fleet Master Chief Petty OfficerFLTCM
E-9Force Master Chief Petty OfficerFORCM
E-9 SpecialMaster Chief Petty Officer of the Coast GuardMPCOCG
E-9 SpecialMaster Chief Petty Officer of the NavyMCPON
W-1Warrant OfficerWO1
W-2Chief Warrant Officer 2CWO2
W-3Chief Warrant Officer 3CWO3
W-4Chief Warrant Officer 4CWO4
W-5Chief Warrant Officer 5CWO5
O-2Lieutenant, Junior GradeLTJG
O-4Lieutenant CommanderLCDR
O-7Rear Admiral (lower half)RDML
O-8Rear Admiral (upper half)RADM
O-9Vice AdmiralVADM
O-10Admiral Chief of Naval Operations /Commandant of the Coast GuardADM
O-10 SpecialFleet AdmiralFADM

Additional Abbreviations for the U.S. Marine Corps

Pay GradeTitleAbbreviation
E-2Private First ClassPFC
E-3Lance CorporalLCpl
E-6Staff SergeantSSgt
E-7Gunnery SergeantGySgt
E-8Master SergeantMSgt
E-8First Sergeant1stSgt
E-9Master Gunnery SergeantMGySgt
E-9Sergeant MajorSgtMaj
E-9 SpecialSergeant Major of the Marine CorpsSgtMajMarCor
W-1Warrant Officer 1WO1
W-2Chief Warrant Officer 2CW2
W-3Chief Warrant Officer 3CW3
W-4Chief Warrant Officer 4CW4
W-5Chief Warrant Officer 5CW5
O-1Second Lieutenant2ndLt
O-2First Lieutenant1stLt
O-5Lieutenant ColonelLtCol
O-7Brigadier GeneralBGen
O-8Major GeneralMajGen
O-9Lieutenant GeneralLtGen

The Definition of the Word

Although the word commander is largely used in military circles, it can be used by non-military organizations to refer to the person in charge. In military terms, the word commander signifies authority.

Commander is also used as a common term for any officer controlling any unit in various international armed forces. For example, you may refer to a squadron commander, brigade commander, and platoon commander. All of these would describe personnel controlling a unit. In the department of police, titles like incident commander and borough commander are frequently used.

In the US Army and Air Force, a commander describes a military appointment to control units. The president is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the United States.

In the United Kingdom, the word commander is mostly used in the Royal Navy. It’s the rank above the lieutenant commander and equivalent to lieutenant colonel.

For example:

The commander-in-chief and chief of staff attended a meeting at the department of defense (DOD) offices.

Combatant Comds. report to the secretary of defence.

In the British army, a commander is a non-commissioned officer who is in charge of a unit.

In New Zealand, the term commander refers to the major general, a very senior officer.

Commander can be used in both military and non-military ranks. For instance, in various small colonial settlements such as the Caribbean islands, the military title commandeur could be used instead of a civilian gubernatorial title.

In NASA, once a crew member has been designated as a commander, he or she is in charge of the spaceship. They also make critical decisions in coordination with space mission centers.

Civil aviation authorities refer to the captain as a commander, which is technically an airline rank.

The Origin of the Word

The title, initially “master and commander,” was coined in the 18th century to describe maritime officers who commanded big warships. These commanders acted as lieutenants, but had a rank more junior than captains. Before 1700, the commanding officers usually served as their own masters. The Royal Navy shortened the term “master and commander” to commander in 1794.

Also, a commander can be explained or defined as the rank given to a person to have authority over any military operation or troop. In generic use, the word commander can refer to any officer commanding any armed forces unit, such as a brigade commander or squad commander.

For example:

Officer Nick was behaving badly last night. This morning, he had to talk to his commander.

The weather station commander emailed the report to the media.

Synonyms for Commander

  • Captain
  • Chief 
  • Administrator 
  • Officer
  • Ruler 
  • Czar 
  • Don 

Examples of the Word and Abbreviation in Context

“The concept of a political ruler serving as the ultimate commander of the armed forces dates to the Emperors of the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic, and Roman Empire, who held imperium—command and regal—powers.”

“U.S. Army Gen. Stephen J. Townsend became the fifth commander of the United States Africa Command on July 26, 2019.”
—United States Africa Command

“‘They had a family. Their family still remembers them,’ says Comd. John Henry McArdle with Thresher Base United States Submarine Veterans.”
—WMUR Channel 9

“Comdr. Thomas Verdi said Oscar Hudson, 50, shot and killed his estranged wife, Berta Hudson, 48, before shooting himself.”
—The Providence Journal

“MANAMA, Bahrain—America’s growing volume of military assets in the Persian Gulf is about deterrence, not war, senior Navy commanders told CNBC aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln.”

“Lieutenant Commander Adam Stafford, RAN joined the Royal Australian Navy in January 2005 from Mackay, Queensland as a Direct Entry Maritime Warfare …”