[ kom-uh-sahr, kom-uh-sahr ]

  1. the head of any of the major governmental divisions of the U.S.S.R.: called minister since 1946.

  2. 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 commissāriuscommissary

Words Nearby commissar Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use commissar in a sentence

  • It took a while, but Republicans have started to throw commissar Norquist under the bus.

  • Still from Biisk in the Altai country had just come a very important commissar.

    Beasts, Men and Gods | Ferdinand Ossendowski
  • The commissar began to protest heatedly, but Josip Pekic shook his head and tried to firm his less than dominating voice.

    Expediter | Dallas McCord Reynolds
  • One commissar was appointed by agreement between the Government and the Soviet.

    The Russian Turmoil | Anton Ivanovich Denikin
  • That commissar, according to the Commanding Officers, is undoubtedly useful.

    The Russian Turmoil | Anton Ivanovich Denikin
  • When the latter passed a vote of censure upon the activities of a commissar, he could practically do nothing more.

    The Russian Turmoil | Anton Ivanovich Denikin

British Dictionary definitions for commissar


/ (ˈkɒmɪˌsɑː, ˌkɒmɪˈsɑː) /

noun(in the former Soviet Union)
  1. Also called: political commissar an official of the Communist Party responsible for political education, esp in a military unit

  2. Also called: People's Commissar (before 1946) the head of a government department: Now called: minister

Origin of commissar

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

Cultural definitions for commissar


[ (kom-uh-sahr) ]

In various communist systems of government, an official assigned to a group to ensure the group's conformity to Communist party doctrine. The heads of government departments in the former Soviet Union were called commissars.

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.