Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


a. Control or power over another or others.
b. The exercise of such control or power.
2. dominations Christianity The fourth of the nine orders of angels in medieval angelology. Also called dominions.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. the act of dominating or state of being dominated
2. authority; rule; control
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˌdɒm əˈneɪ ʃən)

1. an act or instance of dominating.
2. the exercise of rule or control.
3. dominations, one of the nine orders of celestial attendants of God. Compare angel (def. 1).
[1350–1400; Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Latin]
dom′i•na•tive (-ˌneɪ tɪv, -nə tɪv) adj.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.




browbeat To intimidate by stern looks or words; to bully; to push around. Dating from about 1600, this term refers to the brows of the beater and not the beaten, as is commonly supposed today. However, it is unclear whether to beat in the expression means to beat figuratively with one’s brows or ‘to lower’ one’s brows at, i.e., to frown at.

crack the whip To command or control; to run a tight ship; to be strict with. The allusion is to the threatening crack of a whip used to keep horses and slaves moving or in line.

have by the short hairs To have complete mastery or control over, to have someone right where you want him. The British equivalent of this expression, to have by the short and curlies, makes this rather obvious reference to pubic hair more explicit. Use of the phrase dates from the latter half of the 19th century.

Those Chinhwan really did seem to have got the rest of the world by the short hairs. (Blackwood’s Magazine, February, 1928)

have by the tail To be in control, to be in the driver’s seat; to be certain of success. Tail in this phrase refers to the buttocks and backside. This American slang expression appeared in S. Long-street’s The Pedlocks (1951):

Oh, I know all young people are sure they can have it by the tail, permit me that indelicate phrase, but can you and Alice really be happy?

have one’s foot on [someone’s] neck To be in a superior, dominating position; to have someone at one’s mercy; to have complete control over another person. This expression owes its origin to the following Biblical passage:

Come near, put your feet upon the necks of these kings … for thus shall the Lord do to all your enemies against whom ye fight. (Joshua 10:24-25)

A similar phrase is have under one’s thumb.

lead by the nose To completely dominate another, particularly one who is weak-willed or easily intimidated. This expression refers to the practice of leading some animals by their noses; horses and asses, for example, are guided by means of a bit and bridle, while cattle and camels frequently have a ring through the nose. Thus, the implication in this expression is both demeaning and derisive, i.e., that a person led by the nose has the intelligence, initiative, and decisiveness of a beast of burden.

Because thy rage against me, and thy tumult, is come up into mine ears, therefore will I put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou earnest. (Isaiah 37:29)

The Moor is of a free and open nature
That thinks men honest that but seem to be so,
And will as tenderly be led by the nose
As asses are.
(Shakespeare, Othello, I, iii)

make [someone’s] beard To have a person totally under one’s control or at one’s mercy. This obsolete expression, dating from the 14th century, derives from the fact that a barber who is making (i.e., dressing) a man’s beard has complete control over him. The longer expression make [someone’s] beard without a razor carries this power to the limit—it is a euphemism for ‘behead.’

If I get you … I shall deliver you to Joselyn, that shall make your beard without any razor. (John Bourchier Berners’ translation of Froissart’s Chronicles, 1525)

ride herd on To dominate completely, to tyrannize; to crack the whip, to whip into line or shape, to maintain strict order and discipline; to drive hard, to oppress, to harass. The expression comes from the practice of driving cattle by riding along the outer edge of the herd, thus keeping their movement and progress under tight control. Webster’s Third cites Erie Stanley Gardner’s figurative use of the phrase:

Here comes an officer to ride herd on us.

Though ride herd on most often connotes the use of pressure, harassment, or coercion, occasionally it is used in the milder sense of simple oversight—keeping an eye on another’s performance.

ride roughshod over To treat abusively; to trample on or walk all over; to tyrannize, suppress, or dominate; to act with total disregard of another’s rights, feelings, or interests. The expression usually implies that one is ruthlessly advancing himself at another’s expense and hurt. A horse is roughshod when the nails of its shoes project, affording more sure-footed progress but also damaging the ground over which it travels. Robert Burns used the phrase in 1790; it remains in common currency.

’Tis a scheme of the Romanists, so help me God!
To ride over your most Royal Highness roughshod.
(Thomas Moore, Intercepted Letters, 1813)

rule the roost To be in charge or control, to dominate. Though the expression makes perfect sense when seen as stemming from the imperious habits of gamecocks, its origin more likely lies in a corruption of rule the roast, common in England since the mid-16th century but itself of uncertain origin. As used in some early citations, roast appears to suggest a council or ruling body of some sort. Though this latter form is rarely heard in the U.S., it remains more common in England than rule the roost. Webster’s Third cites W. S. Gilbert’s use of the phrase:

Wouldn’t you like to rule the roast, and guide this university?

settle [someone’s] hash To subdue, control, suppress, or otherwise inhibit; to squelch someone’s enthusiasm; to give a comeuppance; to make mincemeat of; to get rid of or dispose of someone. This expression alludes to hash as a jumbled mess; therefore, to settle [someone’s] hash originally meant to kill someone, implying that his murder settles, once and for all, the jumble of his mental and emotional woes.

My finger was in an instant on the trigger, and another second would have settled his hash. (Edward Napier, Excursions in Southern Africa, 1849)

The expression has been extended somewhat to include less drastic means of subdual.

Simon Legree A cruel, heartless taskmaster; an employer, foreman, or overseer. Simon Legree was the villainous slave dealer in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Nowadays, the expression is often applied somewhat humorously to any taskmaster.

At least $20 is going into a kitty to help Lewis pay for some dead horses which he has managed to scrape up during his tenure as the miner’s Simon Legree. (Retail Coalman, November, 1949)

take in tow See GUIDANCE.

wear the pants To be the dominant member; to be in control. This expression alludes to the stereotypic male dominance over women. In common usage, the expression usually refers to a domineering wife who, in essence, controls the household.

with a high hand Overbearingly, arbitrarily, arrogantly, imperiously, tyrannically, dictatorially. The expression originally meant ‘triumphantly’ as illustrated by this Biblical passage describing the delivery of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage:

On the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians. (Numbers 33:3)

The phrase apparently entered the English language with John Wycliffe’s translation of the Bible in 1382. There is, however, no explanation as to how or why the expression shifted in meaning from the original sense of ‘triumphantly’ to today’s exclusive meaning of ‘arrogantly’ or ‘imperiously.’

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.domination - social control by dominatingdomination - social control by dominating  
social control - control exerted (actively or passively) by group action
bossism - domination of a political organization by a party boss
mastery, subordination - the act of mastering or subordinating someone
monopolisation, monopolization - domination (of a market or commodity) to the exclusion of others
2.domination - power to dominate or defeatdomination - power to dominate or defeat; "mastery of the seas"
transcendence, transcendency, superiority - the state of excelling or surpassing or going beyond usual limits
ascendance, ascendancy, ascendence, ascendency, dominance, control - the state that exists when one person or group has power over another; "her apparent dominance of her husband was really her attempt to make him pay attention to her"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


2. The right and power to command, decide, rule, or judge:
Informal: say-so.
3. The act of exercising controlling power or the condition of being so controlled:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
سَيْطَرَه، تَسَلُّط


[ˌdɒmɪˈneɪʃən] N (= act of dominating) → dominación f; (= control) → dominio m
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˌdɒmɪˈneɪʃən] n [market] → domination f; [country] → domination f
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


n(Vor)herrschaft f; under the domination of the Romansunter römischer Herrschaft; his domination of his younger brotherssein dominierendes Verhalten seinen jüngeren Brüdern gegenüber; her domination of the conversation/gamedie Tatsache, dass sie die Unterhaltung/das Spiel beherrschte
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˌdɒmɪˈneɪʃn] ndominazione f
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(ˈdominənt) adjective
ruling; most important; strongest. the dominant group in society; Green was the dominant colour in the room.
ˈdominance noun
ˈdominate (-neit) verb
1. to have command or influence (over). The stronger man dominates the weaker.
2. to be most strong or most noticeable etc (in). The skyline is dominated by the castle.
ˌdomiˈnation noun
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in classic literature ?
Freedom from the domination of the great tradition could only be found by seeking new subjects, and such freedom was really only illusionary, since romantic subjects alone are suitable for epic treatment.
Had she stumbled upon the secret of its uncanny domination over her will?
But let it be admitted, for argument's sake, that mere wantonness and lust of domination would be sufficient to beget that disposition; still it may be safely affirmed, that the sense of the constituent body of the national representatives, or, in other words, the people of the several States, would control the indulgence of so extravagant an appetite.
It cannot be the direct physical power of a strong man over a weak one- a domination based on the application or threat of physical force, like the power of Hercules; nor can it be based on the effect of moral force, as in their simplicity some historians think who say that the leading figures in history are heroes, that is, men gifted with a special strength of soul and mind called genius.
That Oliver Twist was moved to resignation by the example of these good people, I cannot, although I am his biographer, undertake to affirm with any degree of confidence; but I can most distinctly say, that for many months he continued meekly to submit to the domination and ill-treatment of Noah Claypole: who used him far worse than before, now that his jealousy was roused by seeing the new boy promoted to the black stick and hatband, while he, the old one, remained stationary in the muffin-cap and leathers.
Although D'Artagnan did not at all know the queen, he soon distinguished her voice from the others, at first by a slightly foreign accent, and next by that tone of domination naturally impressed upon all royal words.
When Canada passed under British domination, and the old French trading houses were broken up, the voyageurs, like the coureurs des bois, were for a time disheartened and disconsolate, and with difficulty could reconcile themselves to the service of the new- comers, so different in habits, manners, and language from their former employers.
Then, too, there was the compelling force of the manmind exerting its powerful influence over this creature of a lower order, and, after all, it may have been this that proved the most potent factor in Tarzan's supremacy over Sheeta and the other beasts of the jungle that had from time to time fallen under his domination.
But, instead of receiving their salutations with courtesy, John and his petulant attendants could not resist the temptation of pulling the long beards of the Irish chieftains; a conduct which, as might have been expected, was highly resented by these insulted dignitaries, and produced fatal consequences to the English domination in Ireland.
"God help any," was the common thought, "who is under the domination of such a man!"
Because she's weak, she has a rage for domination, and nothing less will satisfy her.
It is very strange, this domination of our intellect by our digestive organs.