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 Soviet Union until 1946

Examples of commissar in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The 2,900-page bill would make an old Soviet commissar blush. Phil Gramm And Mike Solon, WSJ, 1 Mar. 2022 And administration of the Appanages? Appoint a special Provisional Government commissar. Gentlemen. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, National Review, 13 Oct. 2021 But the commissar did not budge or remove his tall hat. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, National Review, 14 Oct. 2021 Anatoly Lunacharsky, the first Bolshevik commissar for education, endorsed London’s work. J. Hoberman, The New York Review of Books, 22 Oct. 2020 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 See More

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.

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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The first known use of commissar was in 1921

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Last Updated

4 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Commissar.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on commissar

Britannica English: Translation of commissar for Arabic Speakers


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