Definition of control in US English:


nounPlural controls

  • 1The power to influence or direct people's behavior or the course of events.

    ‘the whole operation is under the control of a production manager’
    ‘the situation was slipping out of her control’
    • ‘His Marlowe is always pushing buttons, probing people for weakness, wresting control of the situation.’
    • ‘The secretary who once thought that he was in total power and control now felt helpless and terrified.’
    • ‘You retain a position of power and control despite all the changes in the work area.’
    • ‘Off-campus, one gains complete control of their diet and food intake.’
    • ‘The parties have lost direct control over the nomination process as more candidates are being selected by the primary process.’
    • ‘You have no control over the event - it has happened, it is past - but you can choose your reaction.’
    • ‘It is doubtful whether he had any particular control over the course of events.’
    • ‘The fact that they failed to do so was dictated to some degree by events outside their direct control.’
    • ‘The director would not have day-to-day control or financial power over the other agencies.’
    • ‘When did any bureaucracy ever volunteer to give away authority, control or influence?’
    • ‘The only independent control of the powers comes from the Home Secretary's supervision of authorisations.’
    • ‘The aim is then to weaken further the government's control in order to hasten its full collapse.’
    • ‘Can we really hand over enormous power and control of our lives to anyone and expect them to act in our best interests?’
    • ‘Then, as is the case with many expeditions, variables beyond our control take over.’
    • ‘The health authority will argue that other factors, beyond the hospital's control, were probably involved.’
    • ‘They benefited from the efforts of the earlier pioneers, but still found state control too restrictive.’
    • ‘Sailing is a sport in which circumstances beyond your control not only affect your performance but also your ability to perform at all.’
    • ‘We must seize control of our own economic destinies as far as possible.’
    • ‘He exercised total control over every aspect of our lives.’
    • ‘The event also highlighted the advantages of the community groups having control of their own events.’
    • ‘Some men are like this because they want to have control and power over women.’
    jurisdiction, sway, power, authority, command, dominance, domination, government, mastery, leadership, rule, reign, sovereignty, supremacy, ascendancy, predominance, hegemony
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The ability to manage a machine, vehicle, or other moving object.
      ‘he lost control of his car’
      ‘improve your ball control’
      • ‘He then lost control and crashed into a huge tree that had fallen across the road.’
      • ‘The car slows and veers: but I manage to keep control and the lorry pulls away again.’
      • ‘This was not due to a lack of ability as Tom had excellent ball control, could accurately score goals and easily hit a rounders' ball.’
      • ‘He amazed the crowd with his perfect driving skills and the control over the machine.’
      • ‘Last December a car lost control and hit the wall near the village hall.’
      • ‘Seth tried with all of his ability to keep control over his car, but just couldn't handle it.’
      • ‘Parked cars were damaged when the driver of a car lost control on a roundabout and collided with them yesterday.’
      • ‘Police said the driver lost control as the car came over the brow of the hill near Hopton Industrial Estate.’
      • ‘It is understood that around 10 am, the driver of the car lost control after colliding with a lorry.’
      • ‘I shouted so hard and punched the air with such delight I almost lost control of the car.’
      • ‘The woman attempted to escape by reversing the car, but lost control and ended up in a ditch at the side of the quiet country road close to Wistow Mine.’
      • ‘This cushions the impact of the pass and gives you better control of the ball.’
      • ‘They are all worth closer investigation as they contribute to better control of the machine.’
      • ‘He had the fans on their feet all night long with his dazzling ball control and jaw dropping passes.’
      • ‘It made my engines cut out, leaving me without power, without control, and without vision.’
      • ‘His unerring control of whatever machine he was driving came into play in Indianapolis, too.’
      • ‘He has a very soft grip, which properly allows for control of the ball to rest in the shooting hand.’
      • ‘Once you have control of the ball with your left hand, increase your tempo as you make the first dribble.’
      • ‘A passing car lost control and ran into the telephone kiosk knocking it to the ground.’
      • ‘I spent a lot of time those two days shaking my head because he had so much control over the ball.’
    2. 1.2 The restriction of an activity, tendency, or phenomenon.
      ‘pest control’
      • ‘Not long ago, the New York City Police Department, with the support of the mayor, pushed for a new type of crime control.’
      • ‘He applied his experimental design techniques to a wide range of problems such as control of pests.’
      • ‘The driving paradigm for police research now is clearly crime control.’
      • ‘Their fields of activity include soil conservation, gardening, and natural pest control.’
      • ‘Some people, when they think of pest or weed control, think that it is either a job for experts or they have to use toxic sprays.’
      • ‘Weed control is not especially difficult with ordinary double cropping.’
      • ‘For many years we have been told that chemicals are the only method of effective pest control.’
      • ‘Poorly maintained sprayers result in wastage of inputs and uneven control of pests, weeds and diseases.’
      • ‘The recommendations also include sources of information on control of influenza.’
      • ‘Farmers legitimately and legally use guns for pest control on their land.’
      • ‘It is neglecting the equally important role that physical activity plays in weight control.’
      • ‘Severely infested grains and cheese usually require fumigation to achieve control of these pests.’
      • ‘Maintain strict aphid control at all times, especially in late spring and early summer when aphid populations are highest.’
      • ‘He had literally begged his landlord to pay for the pest control and fumigation.’
      • ‘A spokesperson for the Baptist church said on Monday they were aware of the situation and pest control had dealt with it.’
      • ‘Your plants will be more dependent on you for feed and water as well as pest control.’
      • ‘We have seen that neither uniformed patrol nor plainclothes investigation work is very successful in crime control.’
      • ‘Today I am going to talk about some of the new technologies which may be used for crime control.’
      • ‘The man was brought to safety while pest control dealt with his vermin.’
      • ‘To continue, hunts would have to meet the twin tests of preventing cruelty and being necessary for pest control.’
      restraint, constraint, limitation, restriction, check, curb, brake, rein
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 The power to restrain something, especially one's own emotions or actions.
      ‘give children time to get control of their emotions’
      • ‘When deciding this, bear in mind that the law expects people to exercise control over their emotions.’
      • ‘She knew she was losing control over her emotions.’
      • ‘The rhetoric serves to perpetuate the myth that perpetrators have no control over their behaviour when they are drunk.’
      • ‘She rubbed at her eyes with it, embarrassed to have lost control in such a manner.’
      • ‘Sometimes I think that it would be good to be one of those people who are in total control of their emotions.’
      • ‘Most patients will have increasing anxiety before losing control of their emotions.’
      • ‘His eyes were wild and he still had not regained complete control of himself.’
      • ‘She managed to regain control of herself for long enough to cry out in fear.’
      • ‘Anger I could deal with, but I hated to be embarrassed and to lose control of my emotions.’
      • ‘She'd like more control over her emotions so as to appear immune to perceived insults and snubs.’
      • ‘He says that no matter how tough these guys appear there often comes a time when they lose control of their emotions.’
      • ‘It was a struggle to keep it that way, but he refused to lose control of his emotions in front of Jesse.’
      • ‘She would return to the village in the morning, when she had control over her emotions again.’
      • ‘One answer that might come to mind is that these are just emotions, and I don't have complete control over my emotions.’
      • ‘My mother nodded her head and wiped the tears from her face as she tried to keep control of her emotions.’
      • ‘True freedom is about control; learn to exercise control and restraint when you must.’
      • ‘He wasn't sure how he was managing to keep control of his laughter, but he was very grateful for it.’
      • ‘She stumbled the next few steps, and then managed to take control of her coordination.’
      • ‘Once seated Kelly took a deep breath and fought to regain control of her emotions.’
      • ‘Sometimes there is a lack of control over aggressive tendencies.’
      self-control, self-restraint, restraint, self-command, self-mastery, self-discipline
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4often controls A means of limiting or regulating something.
      ‘growing controls on local spending’
      • ‘Teachers called for tighter controls on home education yesterday with figures showing that parents were increasingly rejecting formal schooling and teaching children themselves.’
      • ‘U.S. government controls on technology exports could limit the Europeans' access to defense contracts.’
      • ‘We have stringent laws relating to censorship of films and videos but it would appear there are no such controls on games - and we are now beginning to see the consequences of that’
      • ‘Measures to introduce new EU-wide controls on feed for farmed livestock in England were announced this week by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.’
      • ‘We must put pressure on legislators to introduce tighter controls on the sale of these products.’
      • ‘He said the bill would introduce controls on the manufacture, use, noise and sale of fireworks, as well as introduce penalties for breaking the rules if it became law.’
      • ‘The department, which is responsible for official controls on animal feed, did not disclose where the contaminated premixture was found.’
      • ‘Mr Reilly said controls on food and feed will be structured so that they are integrated at all stages of production and in all sectors.’
      • ‘The commission, which is responsible for ensuring standards of care in the NHS and the private sector, will also propose tougher controls on rogue cosmetic surgeons.’
      • ‘But the government also promised to consider controls on air guns, blamed for causing injuries and distress to humans and animals.’
      • ‘There was a need for tougher controls on meat imports.’
      • ‘But aren't there export controls on these items?’
      • ‘When the gems were discovered in 1930, the British colonial government tried in vain to slap strict controls on mining.’
      • ‘The market will become unfettered by regulation - the modest controls on the internet to protect consumers, for example, are to be dumped on the grounds that they impose burdens on business.’
      • ‘But a survey published today shows 85% of Britons believe there should be greater controls on the way fast foods are promoted to children.’
      • ‘In the 1920s the state imposed controls on freight charges.’
      • ‘But there are no controls on charges and they can also be varied by the bank with immediate effect.’
      • ‘Researchers at a Yorkshire university are calling for tighter controls on aviation in an attempt to reduce greenhouse gases and minimise the effects of climate change.’
      • ‘But the court decided yesterday that the rules to tighten controls on the growing market in vitamins and minerals can come into force on August 1 as planned.’
      • ‘Dr Cullen also needs to bring in tighter controls on foreign investment, both to limit speculation on property and focus the inflow of foreign capital on new, productive investment.’
    5. 1.5 A switch or other device by which a machine is regulated.
      ‘the volume control’
      • ‘His hands went over the radio controls and flicked some switches.’
      • ‘I went up with the chief instructor and he was superb and let me take the controls so I actually flew the plane at around 240 mph.’
      • ‘You can run this camera in full automatic mode or switch to completely manual controls.’
      • ‘The controls found inside this vehicle are fairly simple and straightforward.’
      • ‘The menu and controls of the device are done really properly: everything is very logical and intuitive.’
      • ‘They say devices that would allow air traffic controllers to override the controls of a hijacked plane are close to development.’
      • ‘Even the cheapest alarms have an on/off switch and a volume control, something that many people seem to forget.’
      • ‘When flying a helicopter the controls need to be manually held at all times.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, she needed a code to work the controls, and her spies had failed to gather that particular piece of information.’
      • ‘Most excavator operators find it easier to operate levers, switches, and other controls with their hands or fingers rather than the ball or heel of their foot.’
      • ‘They are frost-free, have individual humidity controls on each crisper drawer and the option of built-in water filters for water and crushed-ice dispensers.’
      • ‘Voice dialling and other key phone functions can be activated using the vehicles' steering wheel controls.’
      • ‘It also provides a central control to operate the other equipment in the room.’
      • ‘The low spec model which we drove still came with standard front electric windows, air conditioning and an integral CD and radio with controls on the column of the steering wheel.’
      • ‘She pressed one button and the controls, switches, and buttons all came to life around her.’
      • ‘He pressed a control on the device before him.’
      • ‘Many complain that the modern car is home to a confusing and unnecessary multitude of buttons, switches and controls.’
      • ‘He also gets behind the controls of several vehicles, including a tank and an armed helicopter.’
      • ‘The controls allow you to switch between bass, treble and flat settings and quick-scan through tracks, but it can't fast forward or rewind.’
      • ‘The music fades in and out as if there was a kid at the controls playing with the volume knob.’
      switch, knob, button, dial, handle, lever
      View synonyms
    6. 1.6 The place where a particular item is verified.
      ‘passport control’
      • ‘Then there is the routine stop and search and the rigmarole at airport passport control.’
      • ‘If you get your visa in the UK before you go, you can skip this queue, go direct to passport control and be first in the baggage reclaim queue.’
      • ‘Already, talk has begun in some quarters about the need to tighten up on border controls to prevent illegal immigrants who might be potential terrorists getting into the country.’
      • ‘In the shop after passport control, some goods were being sold at high-street prices.’
      • ‘We are not Customs we're not Police, we don't have the powers to enforce border control.’
      • ‘All this means is that passport control can verify that you are who you say you are.’
      • ‘At the passport control desk, the officer holds your passport against a scanner which reads the code.’
      • ‘target: not reached’
      • ‘He was stopped at passport control at the airport.’
      • ‘Sets of parallel lines painted on the tarmac led him to the passport control kiosks and the customs sheds beyond.’
      headquarters, hq, base, centre of operations, command post
      View synonyms
    7. 1.7 The base from which a system or activity is directed.
      ‘communications could be established with central control’
      ‘mission control’
      • ‘Our reporter is at mission control in Houston.’
      • ‘All the monitors in mission control blacked out.’
      • ‘People on the ground heard every word of the pilot's conversation with control via a PA system.’
      • ‘The transmissions were sent at the speed of light through the air to the distant mission control.’
      • ‘Someone from mission control ran to the press conference to whisper the news to him.’
      • ‘How do you stay calm in mission control when the lives of human beings rest on the decisions you will make next?’
    8. 1.8Computing
      short for control key
      • ‘Later we can use CONTROL to remove colours and SHIFT to add them.’
      • ‘Now hit Control + E three times.’
      • ‘is there a way to disable the windows key (to the right of the left control) on the keyboard?’
  • 2A group or individual used as a standard of comparison for checking the results of a survey or experiment.

    ‘they saw no difference between the cancer patients and the controls’
    • ‘Table 4 shows the relative mortality of this group of patients compared with the control group.’
    • ‘Mortality in the controls varied among all experiments in this study from 0 to 27%.’
    • ‘Dr Duncan found that only one of the groups, the third group, showed any apparent effect in comparison with the control group.’
    • ‘Patients in the control group received standard care delivered by the community mental health teams.’
    • ‘These rats and the normal controls were bred under standard conditions, approved by the University Animal Care Committee.’
    • ‘Being a scientist at heart, Gorman set up a control experiment with a man born at the same time and the same place as himself.’
    • ‘For the statistical evaluation the results were compared with the corresponding controls.’
    • ‘A further 932 were recruited from the public to act as a control group for comparison.’
    • ‘Hospital admissions for renal stone disease were compared between patients and controls.’
    • ‘Compared with controls, significant results remained for deliberate self-harm in moderately and severely victimized individuals.’
    • ‘Total absence of care or health services cannot be considered a suitable control standard.’
    • ‘This type of experiment, by its very nature, does not provide long travel times to serve as controls, so conclusive results are difficult to obtain.’
    • ‘First, our sample was a clinical sample that did not include clinical controls or normal comparison families.’
    • ‘This study is a preliminary report of the case series without a control group for comparison.’
    • ‘These control experiments confirmed that the antibody penetrated well in all the samples studied.’
    • ‘Statistical tests refer to differences between experiments and their corresponding controls.’
    • ‘We wished to demonstrate the importance of these factors in a control experiment.’
    • ‘Thirty six healthy resident doctors and staff members served as controls.’
    • ‘Distilled water was used instead of the chemicals for the control experiments.’
    • ‘Intact leaves selected the evening before the experiments served as controls.’
    • ‘Negative and positive controls showed the expected results.’
    standard of comparison, benchmark, standard, check
    View synonyms
  • 3A member of an intelligence organization who personally directs the activities of a spy.

    • ‘He detests the amorality of his C.I.A. control.’
    • ‘The title refers to the time when an outside spy has to ‘come in from the cold’ and take a sedentary job as another spy's control or even some menial desk assignment until the mandatory age limit forces retirement.’
    • ‘Blunt joined MI5, now allowing him to expand his services beyond recruiting and giving him opportunities to transmit secret documents to his KGB control.’
  • 4Bridge
    A high card that will prevent the opponents from establishing a particular suit.

verbcontrols, controlling, controlled

  • 1with object Determine the behavior or supervise the running of.

    ‘he was appointed to control the company's marketing strategy’
    • ‘A small number of states could determine which party controls the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.’
    • ‘They relocate to another community after he unwittingly takes a job with a company controlled by a super-villain.’
    • ‘The army of 28 new-style traffic wardens was introduced this month, completely controlled by the authority.’
    • ‘Rodney would stress that peasants controlled the agricultural process inside villages, and indeed even their own societies in a wider sense.’
    • ‘But what is sometimes overlooked is that the upcoming elections could determine who controls Congress for the next 10 years.’
    • ‘We can now ask how genes are controlling cell behavior.’
    • ‘The majority of the 2000-plus health and fitness clubs in the UK are still either operated independently or controlled by local authorities.’
    • ‘In addition to the presidential race, November's election will determine which party controls the next Congress.’
    • ‘If the scheme goes ahead, it could become the first in the country to follow the example of the Continent, where in some places prostitution is tolerated but actively controlled by the authorities.’
    • ‘This is what is meant by span of control: the numbers of positions allocated to and controlled by a supervisor or manager.’
    • ‘Having local authorities controlling licensing certainly makes a lot of sense, because they are in the front line of the drinking culture in their particular communities.’
    • ‘Those who are regulated usually end up controlling the process and warp the regulations to their own benefit.’
    • ‘At Tewkesbury School, which is not controlled by the education authority, the new system will be introduced gradually.’
    • ‘They acted after the London Port Authority, which controls the waters, told Colin they would charge him up to £10,000 to move it.’
    • ‘They received a monthly salary and were charged with controlling the production process and recording the flow of tobacco leaves and products.’
    • ‘Regional media are generally controlled by regional authorities.’
    • ‘The story is about a future society in which an authoritarian cult controls the vast reaches of Asia, but is then overthrown, leaving a pair of young lovers to experience the scary novelty of freedom.’
    • ‘In the tobacco factory a supervisor controlled the quality of the cigars.’
    • ‘If the election is as tight as it promises to be, they could well determine who controls the US Senate.’
    • ‘The government is also planning to have a single authority for controlling venture capital funds.’
    be in charge of, run, be in control of, manage, direct, administer, head, preside over, have authority over, supervise, superintend, oversee, guide, steer
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Maintain influence or authority over.
      ‘you shouldn't have dogs if you can't control them’
      • ‘The offender had limited capacity to control her behaviour in this respect.’
      • ‘I feel like I'm on top of this huge mountain, screaming at the top of my lungs, my heart tearing open, and the state of my soul controlling what I'm saying.’
      • ‘In London, many people defied a request by police to avoid meeting in Trafalgar Square, where authorities often have trouble controlling the rowdier celebrants.’
      • ‘The more alcohol you take in, the less able you are to control your behaviour.’
      • ‘Yet through all of this, I realized society's constructs were limiting me by controlling my body, mind, sex and sexuality.’
      • ‘Secondly, it develops and maintains an animal that is easy to have around, has appropriate behaviour and is readily controlled in any environment.’
      • ‘Many are drugged to control their behaviour because there are no proper therapies for their conditions.’
      • ‘It was an elite, skillfully and ruthlessly controlling demoralized and apathetic masses.’
      • ‘Focus your talents and energies on areas you can directly influence and control.’
      • ‘I discovered the key to controlling their outrageous behaviour.’
      • ‘At one point, each soldier was responsible for controlling 75 prisoners.’
      • ‘By controlling influential committees, the Prime Minister can also ensure that he drives the policies of these committees.’
      • ‘How well you control your mind determines why you choke while others remain calm and focused.’
      • ‘The whole point of a blog is that its author controls its content.’
      • ‘It ruled that the union would face legal action if it failed to control the behaviour of those protesting.’
    2. 1.2 Limit the level, intensity, or numbers of.
      ‘he had to control his temper’
      • ‘Exams can be nerve-wracking, and controlling your stress levels around this time can be difficult.’
      • ‘Check out how to control your costs, how to keep accounts and how to manage employees.’
      • ‘The girls investigated agriculture and the best practice to control the nitrate levels in the soil.’
      • ‘Psychiatric supervision may help him control some of his feelings of anxiety and he has been offered this on an outpatient basis.’
      • ‘The disease may be controlled with medications or through surgery or radiation treatments.’
      • ‘Pain has to be controlled and adequate hydration maintained so that the abnormal proteins don't plug the kidneys.’
      • ‘Stella loves him dearly, as well, but he has trouble controlling his temper.’
      • ‘By tightly controlling your blood sugar levels, intensive insulin therapy can help prevent long-term diabetes complications such as kidney damage.’
      • ‘Everything that can be done to stop the transmission of diseases like avian influenza is important in controlling it.’
      • ‘Mulching can effectively control weeds from seeds that germinate at or near the soil surface.’
      • ‘To others this would look icy, but Aradia knew her best friend was barely controlling her temper.’
      • ‘The Government has placed great emphasis on controlling the level of inflation but yet, a State body is being granted increases well above the rate of inflation.’
      • ‘It is approved for organic as well as conventional use, and it keeps in check many serious pests not otherwise easily controlled.’
      • ‘It has long been credited with helping to control cholesterol levels.’
      • ‘The body is then unable to control blood sugar levels and insulin must be injected daily.’
      • ‘Use music prior to competition to help maintain focus by controlling negative thoughts.’
      • ‘They are also exploring the effects of social and legislative controls such as blood alcohol limits for driving and controlling the density of liquor outlets in neighborhoods.’
      • ‘Use pesticides only when necessary and only in amounts that will adequately control pests.’
      • ‘Mr Keaney said noise and dust generated by the quarry could be controlled by conditions limiting the hours of operation and the cleaning of the public roads.’
      • ‘He also called upon the citizens to launch a green revolution to control increasing pollution levels in the City.’
      restrain, keep in check, curb, check, contain, hold back, bridle, rein in, keep a tight rein on, subdue, suppress, repress, master, damp down
      limit, restrict, impose limits on, set limits on, curb, cap, constrain
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3control oneself Remain calm and reasonable despite provocation.
      ‘he made an effort to control himself’
      • ‘Visibly struggling to control himself, he finally calmed down somewhat and began to pace.’
      • ‘People are expected to control themselves even in the face of provocation.’
      • ‘Section 3 requires that the accused should have made reasonable efforts to control himself within the limits of what he is reasonably able to do.’
      • ‘I can't stand politicians who can't control themselves.’
      • ‘Mary Roche who advocated the setting up of a Boot Camp where the perpetrators of serious crime would learn discipline, respect and how to control themselves.’
      • ‘We believe it is possible for children to control themselves.’
      • ‘I was walking away, thinking how silly I was to have reacted like that, next time I should be calmer, and control myself.’
      • ‘If they can hate but control themselves and not kill, then that's a step forward.’
      • ‘I would prefer them to have controlled themselves and spared us all the drama.’
      • ‘About 8.5 per cent feel extremely frightened - almost beyond the point of controlling themselves.’
      • ‘She normally should have been able to control herself, despite her fear.’
      • ‘Then he swung his arm back as if he were going to punch me in the face, but for some reason he controlled himself at the last second and lightly tapped my nose with his fist.’
      • ‘We've already shown that we're incapable of controlling ourselves and using power wisely.’
      • ‘You've got to learn to control yourself when you lose a match.’
      • ‘These players are meant to be professionals and should learn how to control themselves.’
      • ‘She was the only one who could calm him down and get him to control himself.’
      • ‘Because of your medical condition you weren't able to control yourself properly.’
      • ‘Despite my best efforts to control myself, I felt tears of guilt begin to well up in the corners of my eyes.’
      • ‘Some people might think, why can't you just control yourself?’
      • ‘Whatever happens, we need to be conscious of restraining and controlling ourselves.’
      compose oneself, recover one's composure, regain one's composure, control oneself, recover one's self-control, regain one's self-control, pull oneself together, keep one's head, simmer down, cool down, cool off, take it easy
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4 Regulate (a mechanical or scientific process)
      ‘the airflow is controlled by a fan’
      • ‘My wife Amy sings and I read from the texts of my poems, as music plays which Stan controls at a soundboard.’
      • ‘Fingerprint recognition can be used in access control for opening doors, controlling burglar alarms and supervising working hours.’
      • ‘The researchers' initial goal was to learn what controls this process.’
      • ‘Scientists believe they will be able to develop treatments for deafness due to the discovery of the gene they believe controls the process that enables us to hear.’
      • ‘This aspect of the process was controlled through separate instrumentation.’
      • ‘The receiver can be accessed and controlled remotely using Internet browsers or company software.’
      • ‘He was such a bad pilot, having trouble controlling and landing the aircraft, that they would not let him rent the plane without a rental company employee to accompany him!’
      regulate, modulate, adjust
      View synonyms
  • 2control forno object Take into account (an extraneous factor that might affect results) when performing an experiment.

    ‘no attempt was made to control for variations’
    • ‘The order of the treatments was randomized to control for a time effect.’
    • ‘When controlling for other factors, lean body mass was the most significant predictor of bone mineral density at most sites.’
    • ‘However, dialect was not a significant predictor of male mating success when controlling for other factors that might affect paternity.’
    • ‘Even if such an age effect were present in our material it would not have influenced our results since we controlled for age.’
    • ‘The within-subjects design of this experiment controls for any differences in sex and age.’
    • ‘The following section describes the treatment outcome findings after controlling for relevant factors.’
    • ‘Overall, the frail group was eight times more likely to be dependent than those who died suddenly, even after controlling for age and other factors.’
    • ‘These effects on bone mineral density remained significant even when controlling for demographic factors and smoking.’
    • ‘After controlling for other factors, individuals who were older or had higher baseline weight showed less weight gain.’
    • ‘Efforts to control for initial differences among the groups were made through a matching procedure.’
    • ‘We were able to control statistically for differences in clutch initiation date.’
    • ‘In some studies that have controlled for social factors and parity, such children do better at school than those of very young parents.’
    • ‘Virtually everywhere men tend to be more active than women, even after controlling for other factors such as education.’
    • ‘Multiple regression analysis examines the effect of each variable after controlling for other variables.’
    • ‘When researchers controlled for socioeconomic factors, the differences were more subtle but still there.’
    • ‘Study designs with community comparisons must adequately control for potential confounding factors.’
    • ‘The results were controlled for age, gender and presence of physical or mental illness.’
    • ‘The findings held true even after controlling for risk factors such as smoking, having diabetes or weighing too much.’
    • ‘Perhaps if we could control for certain variables, the gender difference would disappear.’
    1. 2.1 Check; verify.
      • ‘This is also the third year that we rigorously controlled the results to check and verify that every vote, totaling more than 20,000, was legitimate.’


  • in control

    • Able to direct a situation, person, or activity.

      ‘I felt calm and in control’
      • ‘People need to feel that they are in control of their health and that what they do directly impinges on it.’
      • ‘I feel much more in control of my life though, and I feel on track to sort that little problem out now.’
      • ‘His letter confirmed that the council knows what it is doing and is in control.’
      • ‘They are rarely in control of all that goes on in front of and behind the camera and thus have to leave a great deal to fate.’
      • ‘So, are these people who appear to be totally in control and know exactly what they want any happier?’
      • ‘When someone thinks they are in control they will take enormous risks without flinching.’
      • ‘It's all very efficient but strange for me to not be in control of a situation for the first time.’
      • ‘He can decide on the spur of the moment whether to do a concert or not and is totally in control of his life.’
      • ‘It all takes place when the patient is in a relaxed state of mind, but still in control of their actions.’
      • ‘Waiting too long can leave you feeling that you're not in control of other aspects of your life.’
      in charge, in command, in control, responsible, at the top, in authority, in the seat of authority, at the wheel, in the driving seat, in the saddle
      View synonyms
  • out of control

    • No longer possible to manage.

      ‘fires burning out of control’
      • ‘Some sort of rules must be put in place or the problem will continue to spiral out of control.’
      • ‘Health service chiefs were accused today of allowing hospital superbugs to run out of control.’
      • ‘One of the fires, underneath flats at Angel Mill, threatened to blaze out of control.’
      • ‘Pensioners worry not just about going out at night, but during the day because crime is out of control.’
      • ‘The decision was taken purely and simply because the costs got out of control.’
      • ‘A motorist whose car spun out of control and smashed into a tree on a country road near York has died in hospital.’
      • ‘She wants to warn others how easy it is to let debts spiral out of control.’
      • ‘As the car spun out of control, a bystander was struck and thrown up against a parked car.’
      • ‘I remember reading a story about a bickering argument that got out of control.’
      • ‘They also attended the larger organised events to make sure the fires were not burning out of control.’
      uncontrollable, unmanageable, ungovernable, wild, unruly, disorderly, recalcitrant, refractory, obstreperous, turbulent, intractable, incorrigible, disobedient, delinquent, insubordinate, defiant, non-compliant, undisciplined
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  • under control

    • (of a danger or emergency) being dealt with successfully and competently.

      ‘it took two hours to bring the blaze under control’
      • ‘If tax rises are to be avoided, Government spending needs to be brought under control.’
      • ‘This government is starting to bring this under control but has not committed to do anything long term.’
      • ‘Have those charged with our security genuinely got the problem under control?’
      • ‘Police were again called out and quickly brought the incident under control.’
      • ‘Her husband attempted to battle the flames but was forced back and wasn't able to bring it under control.’
      • ‘The fire was under control within two hours, and officers then continued to search the building.’
      • ‘Even the police who were there seemed at a loss as to how to bring the situation back under control.’
      • ‘It took two hours to bring the fire under control and yet more time to damp down.’
      • ‘The fire brigade soon had the blaze under control and were able to extinguish it swiftly.’
      • ‘This situation has to be brought under control, if the group wants to grow earnings in the future.’


Late Middle English (as a verb in the sense ‘check or verify accounts’, especially by referring to a duplicate register): from Anglo-Norman French contreroller ‘keep a copy of a roll of accounts’, from medieval Latin contrarotulare, from contrarotulus ‘copy of a roll’, from contra- ‘against’ + rotulus ‘a roll’. The noun is perhaps via French contrôle.