- the head of any of the major governmental divisions of the U.S.S.R.: called minister since 1946.
- an official in any communist government whose duties include political indoctrination, detection of political deviation, etc.
Origin of commissar
1915–20; < Russian komissár < German Kommissar < Medieval Latin commissārius commissary
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for commissar
He is the commissar of the 'Cheka' and she is the agent of this establishment.Beasts, Men and Gods
It is not true that "every commissar in Russia to-day is a Jew."The Jew and American Ideals
When the latter passed a vote of censure upon the activities of a Commissar, he could practically do nothing more.
The assistants of the Commissar were at the time away on duty, and Iordansky himself in Zhitomir.
Surely you must realize that the Commissar is one of the busiest men in Transbalkania, Comrade.Expediter
Dallas McCord Reynolds
- Also called: political commissar an official of the Communist Party responsible for political education, esp in a military unit
- Also called: People's Commissar (before 1946) the head of a government departmentNow called: minister
C20: from Russian kommissar, from German, from Medieval Latin commissārius commissary
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for commissar
1918, from Russian komissar, from German Kommissar "commissioner," from French, ultimately from Medieval Latin commissarius (see commissary).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.