See more synonyms for commissary on
noun, plural com·mis·sar·ies.
  1. a store that sells food and supplies to the personnel or workers in a military post, mining camp, lumber camp, or the like.
  2. a dining room or cafeteria, especially one in a motion-picture studio.
  3. a person to whom some responsibility or role is delegated by a superior power; a deputy.
  4. (in France) a police official, usually just below the police chief in rank.
  5. commissar.

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 formscom·mis·sar·i·al [kom-i-sair-ee-uh l] /ˌkɒm ɪˈsɛər i əl/, adjectivesub·com·mis·sar·i·al, adjectivesub·com·mis·sar·y, noun, plural sub·com·mis·sar·ies. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for commissary

legate, representative, agent

Examples from the Web for commissary

Contemporary Examples of commissary

Historical Examples of commissary

  • 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 plural -saries
  1. US a shop supplying food or equipment, as in a military camp
  2. US army an officer responsible for supplies and food
  3. US a snack bar or restaurant in a film studio
  4. a representative or deputy, esp an official representative of a bishop
Derived Formscommissarial (ˌkɒmɪˈsɛərɪəl), adjectivecommissaryship, noun

Word Origin for commissary

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

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