com·​mis·​sar | \ ˈkä-mə-ˌsär How to pronounce commissar (audio) \

Definition of commissar

1a : a Communist party official assigned to a military unit to teach party principles and policies and to ensure party loyalty
b : one that attempts to control public opinion or its expression
2 : the head of a government department in the U.S.S.R. until 1946

Examples of commissar in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web On April 13, 1941, Japan’s foreign minister, Yosuke Matsuoka, and the Soviet commissar of foreign affairs, Vyacheslav Molotov, signed a neutrality pact, valid for five years. Sean Mcmeekin, WSJ, 12 Apr. 2021 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the two officials targeted — the commander, Peng Jiarui, and the former commissar, Sun Jinlong — would also be subject to U.S. visa restrictions. Matthew Lee, Star Tribune, 31 July 2020 With the Lincolns, he was elected as much as selected, said Steve Nelson, the brigade’s political commissar. National Geographic, 31 July 2020 The Treasury Department sanctions will also hit the XPCC’s former political commissar Sun Jinlong as well as Deputy Party Secretary and XPCC Commander Peng Jiarui. Jerry Dunleavy, Washington Examiner, 31 July 2020 From the appointment of a party commissar to work with the chief executive, to the pulling of politically sensitive books from library shelves, Hong Kong is changing fast. The Economist, 11 July 2020 Sitting in the darkness watching them, the commissar (Nonna Mordyukova) has a vision: a flash-forward of Jews, wearing Nazi-era stars on their clothes, marching to a death camp. Richard Sandomir, New York Times, 6 June 2018 According to China’s Global Times: Xi endorsed a (People’s Liberation Army) flag and naming certificate to the captain and political commissar of the carrier at the ceremony, which was held Tuesday afternoon with about 5,000 people in attendance. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 19 Dec. 2019 The commissar slowly warms to the family’s generosity and decency. Richard Sandomir, New York Times, 6 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'commissar.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of commissar

1921, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for commissar

borrowed from Russian komissar, borrowed from German Kommissar, earlier Commissar "person delegated to perform an office, commissioner" borrowed from Medieval Latin commissārius commissary

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Time Traveler for commissar

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The first known use of commissar was in 1921

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Last Updated

24 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Commissar.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jun. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on commissar

Britannica English: Translation of commissar for Arabic Speakers


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