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Meaning of commander in chief

command'er in chief'

Pronunciation: [key]
— pl. commanders in chief.
  1. the supreme commander of the armed forces of a nation or, sometimes, of several allied nations: The president is the Commander in Chief of the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force.
  2. an officer in command of a particular portion of an armed force who has been given this title by specific authorization.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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