commissar

noun
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 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, "Alexander Askoldov, Whose Banned Film Was Found, Dies at 85," 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, "Meet Shandong, China's Second Aircraft Carrier," 19 Dec. 2019 The commissar slowly warms to the family’s generosity and decency. Richard Sandomir, New York Times, "Alexander Askoldov, Whose Banned Film Was Found, Dies at 85," 6 June 2018 After confronting the political commissar, he was blocked from promotions and joined the railway. Los Angeles Times, "At 70, Communist China is older than the Soviet Union, while rivaling U.S. economic power," 29 Sep. 2019 The skeezy old Engineer is still around, professing to have reformed, but then Thuy, who has somehow become a powerful commissar, shows up wanting to track Kim down, so the Engineer resumes pimp work. Margaret Gray, Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘Miss Saigon’ at Pantages, despite its inevitable insensitivities, surprisingly resonates," 25 July 2019 Grossman could embrace any number of contradictions: loyal Soviet citizen and dissident, kulak and commissar, Stalin worshipper and Stalin hater, in-group and out. Aaron Lake Smith, Harper's magazine, "The Trials of Vasily Grossman," 24 June 2019 The trouble is that the California Senator goes on to propose that political commissars oversee salary decisions for roughly 80 million American workers. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The ‘Wage Gap’ Commissars," 27 May 2019 The book opens in 1957 with Gunther, the onetime commissar of Berlin's Murder Squad, living under an alias in Munich as a morgue attendant. Lloyd Sachs, chicagotribune.com, "Crime fiction reviews: Latest from Philip Kerr, Jo Nesbo and Michael Kardos," 17 Apr. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about commissar

Time Traveler for commissar

Time Traveler

The first known use of commissar was in 1921

See more words from the same year

Statistics for commissar

Cite this Entry

“Commissar.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/commissar. Accessed 15 Jul. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on commissar

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with commissar

Britannica English: Translation of commissar for Arabic Speakers

Comments on commissar

What made you want to look up commissar? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!