AskDefine | Define commandant

Dictionary Definition

commandant n : an officer in command of a military unit [syn: commanding officer, commander]

User Contributed Dictionary



From French commandant or Italian and Spanish commandante.


/ˈkɒməndænt/, /kɒmənˈdænt/


  1. A commanding officer, usually of a specific force or division.



  • /kɔmɑ̃dɑ̃/
  • /kOmA~dA~/


fr-noun m

Extensive Definition

Commandant, pronounced /'cɒm.ʊn.dɑnt/ or /'cɒm.ʊn.dænt/ (COM-un-dahnt, -dant), is a military or police title or rank.


In the British Indian Army, the commanding officer of a regiment or battalion was called the Commandant instead of the CO.


Commandant (Comdt) (Ceannfort in Irish) is a military rank in both the Irish Army and Irish Air Corps and is equivalent to Major in other armed forces . In the Irish Naval Service the equivalent rank is Lieutenant Commander.


Commandant (shortened from Capitaine-commandant, i.e. a "captain commanding" (a battalion)), is a rank of the French Army and French Air Force which is used instead of major.
The commandant is also styled chef de bataillon (Battalion Head) in the Infantry, chef d'escadrons (Squadrons Head) in the armored Cavalry and chef d'escadron (Squadron Head - note the lack of s) in the Artillery and the Gendarmerie.
Commandant is also the style, but not the rank, of the senior officers of the French Navy (capitaine de corvette, capitaine de frégate and capitaine de vaisseau).
Prior to the of armies subsequent to the French Revolution, the Major was the officer appointed by the King to keep track of the expenditures and readiness of a regiment. He could be either a commoner or a nobleman, and was graded as a Commissar, not an officer. The officer at commandant rank level was the chef de bataillon or chef d'escadron.
Major is now, however, the most senior Warrant Officer rank, above Adjudant-chef.

Latin America

Commandant, in Spanish Comandante, is a military officer rank used in some Latin American countries. Comandante can be translated into English either as commandant or as commander. The rank may also be found in numerous paramilitary organizations, such as the Sandinistas.
The rank Comandante en Jefe, (Commandant-in-Chief or Commander-in-Chief) may be found in the nation of Cuba as a supreme military rank held by Raúl Castro. Translated as "Commander in Chief", the rank of Comandante en Jefe is the equivalent of a Field Marshal or General of the Army.
Comandante was also the title of a motion picture regarding the life of Castro.

South Africa

In South Africa, Commandant was the title of the commanding officer of a commando (militia) unit in the 19th and early 20th centuries. From 1950 to 1994 it was the official designation of the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the South African Army, South African Air Force, and South African Medical Service.

United Kingdom

In the British Armed Forces, a Commandant is usually the Commanding Officer of a training establishment, such as the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst or the Royal Air Force College Cranwell.
Colonel-Commandant was an appointment which existed in the British Army between 1922 and 1928, and in the Royal Marines from 1755 to some time after World War II. It replaced Brigadier-General in the Army, and was itself replaced by Brigadier in both the Army and the marines. It survives as a ceremonial appointment.
Commandant was also the appointment, equivalent to Commodore, held by the Director of the Women's Royal Naval Service between 1951 and 1993. Senior Commandant and Chief Commandant were Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) ranks equivalent to Major and Lieutenant-Colonel respectively used between 1939 and May 1941, when they were replaced by Senior and Chief Commander. These ranks were also used in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force until December 1939, when they were replaced by Squadron Officer and Wing Officer (equating to Squadron Leader and Wing Commander) respectively.

United States

In the United States Commandant is an appointment not a rank, and the following two appointments currently exist:
Formerly, Admirals were appointed as commandants of Naval Districts.
The Commandant is the second most senior officer (after the Superintendent) of United States Service academies, such as West Point and Annapolis. Commandant is also the title of the commanding officer of many units of the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command. The title is also used for the commander of a unit headquarters, who is usually responsible for administrative matters such as billeting and is called Headquarters Commandant; this may also be a duty assigned to a staff officer in large headquarters.


commandant in Indonesian: Komandan

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

ADC, CO, OD, aide, aide-de-camp, brigadier, brigadier general, bull, captain, castellan, chatelain, chatelaine, chicken colonel, chief of staff, colonel, commander, commander in chief, commanding officer, commissioned officer, company officer, custodian, director, exec, executive, executive officer, field marshal, field officer, first lieutenant, five-star general, four-star general, gaoler, general, general officer, generalissimo, governor, guard, guardian, intendant, jailer, jemadar, junior officer, keeper, lieutenant, lieutenant colonel, lieutenant general, major, major general, manager, marechal, marshal, master, officer, one-star general, orderly officer, principal keeper, prison guard, risaldar, ruler, screw, senior officer, shavetail, sirdar, staff officer, subahdar, subaltern, sublieutenant, the Old Man, the brass, three-star general, top brass, turnkey, two-star general, warden, warder
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