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[kom-uh-ser-ee] /ˈkɒm əˌsɛr i/
noun, plural commissaries.
a store that sells food and supplies to the personnel or workers in a military post, mining camp, lumber camp, or the like.
a dining room or cafeteria, especially one in a motion-picture studio.
a person to whom some responsibility or role is delegated by a superior power; a deputy.
(in France) a police official, usually just below the police chief in rank.
Origin of commissary
1350-1400; Middle English commissarie (< Anglo-French) < Medieval Latin commissārius, equivalent to Latin commiss(us) (past participle of committere to commit) + -ārius -ary
Related forms
[kom-i-sair-ee-uh l] /ˌkɒm ɪˈsɛər i əl/ (Show IPA),
subcommissarial, adjective
subcommissary, noun, plural subcommissaries. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for commissary
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He was rewarded with the appointment of commissary of Police at Niort.

    A Zola Dictionary J. G. Patterson
  • Thereupon she handed Muche's books and the copies set by Florent to the commissary.

  • The commissary, however, had begun to read the copies with a grave air.

  • The commissary said there was quite sufficient there to hang him.

  • There was no more question of the commissary of police that evening.

    Therese Raquin Emile Zola
British Dictionary definitions for commissary


noun (pl) -saries
(US) a shop supplying food or equipment, as in a military camp
(US, army) an officer responsible for supplies and food
(US) a snack bar or restaurant in a film studio
a representative or deputy, esp an official representative of a bishop
Derived Forms
commissarial (ˌkɒmɪˈsɛərɪəl) adjective
commissaryship, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Medieval Latin commissārius official in charge, from Latin committere to entrust, commit
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
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Word Origin and History for commissary

mid-14c., "one to whom special duty is entrusted by a higher power," from Medieval Latin commissarius, from Latin commissus "entrusted," past participle of committere (see commit). Originally ecclesiastical; the military sense of "official in charge of supply of food, stores, transport" dates to late 15c. Hence "storeroom" (1882) and "dining room in a larger facility" (1929, American English).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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