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What does "you have the con" mean?

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"You have the conn" is the glib comment one officer makes when turning command over to another officer. It was uttered several times in both Star Trek: The Original Series, and in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

It's a little confusing, because in ST:TNG "Encounter at Farpoint", O'Brien sits at the conn position on the bridge, and is credited as "Conn" in the end credits, Conn being a Celtic Irish name meaning "chief".

This is almost a double entendre, as his character is at one point in the series identified as holding the rank of Chief Petty Officer--and is also, coincidentally, referred to as "Chief", as in "Transporter Chief", a title heard also in the days of Star Trek: The Original Series. Colm Meaney's Chief O'Brien, of course, went on to be a cast member in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine after becoming a popular character in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

In nautical and naval parlance, "Conn" was an officer or sailor who provided the Captain's instructions to the helmsman as to how to steer, the idea being that the Captain "has" the "conn"--that is, the Captain consults with the conn, who is an expert with expertise and education in the reading and interpretation of nautical charts and also as to vessel motion and movements, while the helmsman is a lesser functionary who actually steers as he is told to do. The conn, in turn, instructs the helmsman, after consultation with the Captain.

Obviously, then, "having the conn" is an important and necessary aspect of being in efficacious command of the vessel, because without the expertise, education and experience of the "conn", the Captain himself would have to be an expert as to course-plotting, etc., using nautical charts, and not all Captains are.

--ProfessorTrek 10:51, January 30, 2012 (UTC)

The Conning tower on a submarine is where everything happens- the periscope protrudes from the top of the tower and is something that can only be used by one person at a time. i guess Conn is used as an adjective for a position of seniority but may be from the noun.

"You have the con" means that the next highest ranking officer is now in temporary command of the ship, essentially meaning, "You have CONtrol of the ship."

I beg to differ with the previous response. It is my view that it is not "COM" but "CON," which would literally mean "You are in control of the CONsole." I believe we are to understand the CON as the primary control panel related to the movement and associated responsiblity for safe in-flight operation of the vessel.

--- Previous response follows: The helm is sometimes referred to as the "conn" [1]) or an abbreviation of Control.

It essentially means "it's your turn to pilot the ship"

Except, thats not how its used. It generally seems to mean the same thing as 'You have the bridge' meaning you're in command of the ship until the Captain or First Officer return to relieve you.

The term refers to conning towers, which were armored bridge structures on old warships where the officer in command would issue orders to the crew.

I disgree it is spelt Conn and it means you have command. it can also be said as you have the bridge


According to the script, it's spelt conn. Here's an exerpt from the script for 11001001 ([2])

PICARD No one's been hurt. They accomplished their objective. They have their world back in order, and we have our ship.

Picard takes the position at the Conn.

PICARD (continuing) It's been some time since I had the Conn. He taps in the coordinates.

So the conn is the console. It doesn't mean command, otherwise what Picard said above wouldn't make sense.

Technically CONN is referring to the ship's helm station, but while the helmsman physically steers the ship, the captain decides what course to set. The helmsman does not generally set courses without the captain's order. So the captain, or whoever is in charge of the watch at the time, has control of the CONN, even if they are not at the helm. When a helmsman is seated at the CONN, they are also said to "Have the CONN" because they are manning that station, but this does not necisarily mean they have the command of the watch.

In the above qoute Picard is referring to having direct control of the CONN station itself, not command of the ship, but there are several times in Trek where the word CONN is used as a synonym to the Bridge or command of the ship as a whole -Cpthunt 06:49, August 30, 2011 (UTC)

It is a term used on navy vessels. It means you have command.

If picard was giving up Command he would say, 'You have the Bridge'.

The CONN comes from the word " Conning tower" [1] Having the Conn means being in control of the Ship. The CO (Commanding Officer) can not be on duty 24/7 and the bridge of any ship that is not decomissioned (in the US Navy) must be manned. Therefore the Captain or the Duty roster determines who has the Conn while the Captain is not on the Bridge.

The second the Captain steps from the Bridge (even for a Bathroom break) someone else will then have the Conn. Vanessa Ravencroft (talk) 06:25, August 3, 2012 (UTC)


A conning tower is a raised platform on a ship or submarine, often armored, from which an officer can con the vessel; i.e., give directions to the [file:///wiki/Helmsman helmsman]. It is usually located as high on the ship as practical, to give the conning team good visibility of the entirety of their ship itself and of ocean conditions and other vessels.[[Category:Cpthunt is correct, in both that it's spelled "Conn" and that having the Conn and the Bridge are two different things. However, it's obvious to anyone who has watched any of the ST series that the writers often take liberties with the formalities of military structure and terminology. So, "you have the conn," was sometimes used to mean "You have the bridge" as well.]]

I believe on a naval ship having the "conn" means that you have immediate command of where the ship goes and what it does. Your command is of course subject to the mission and the commands of those above you. (You can't just go drive the ship off wherever you like.) But you are essentially in charge of any immediate actions that have to be taken. Now if a ship encounters a situation that needs the attention of captain he would be summoned to either take command on the bridge or to give the conn instructions. The officer in charge of the bridge is in immediate command of what happens there. Hence when the Captain leaves the bridge he assigns the next highest ranking officer to "have the con", that is to take immediate command.

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