[ kom-uh-sahr, kom-uh-sahr ]
/ ˈkɒm əˌsɑr, ˌkɒm əˈsɑr /


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.



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“I do believe that the buck stops here, that I cannot rely upon public opinion polls to tell me what is right. I do believe that right makes might and that if I am wrong, 10 angels swearing I was right would make no difference.”

Origin of commissar

1915–20; <Russian komissár<German Kommissar<Medieval Latin commissāriuscommissary Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for commissar

British Dictionary definitions for commissar

/ (ˈkɒmɪˌsɑː, ˌkɒmɪˈsɑː) /

noun (in the former Soviet Union)

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

Word Origin for 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.