com·mis·sion | \kə-ˈmi-shən \

Definition of commission 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a formal written warrant granting the power to perform various acts or duties

b : a certificate conferring military rank and authority also : the rank and authority so conferred received a lieutenant's commission in the army

2 : an authorization or command to act in a prescribed manner or to perform prescribed acts : charge a commission to serve as notary public

3a : authority to act for, in behalf of, or in place of another … had summoned all the clans which acknowledged his commission— T. B. Macaulay

b : a task or matter entrusted to one as an agent for another executed a commission for me while he was in Singapore

4a : a group of persons directed to perform some duty The state set up a commission to study the proposed merger of the school districts.

b : a government agency having administrative, legislative, or judicial powers regulatory powers exercised by the Federal Trade Commission

c : a city council having legislative and executive functions She served on the city's water commission.

5 : an act of committing something commission of a crime

6 : a fee paid to an agent or employee for transacting a piece of business or performing a service especially : a percentage of the money received from a total paid to the agent responsible for the business He gets a commission for each car he sells.

7 : an act of entrusting or giving authority the commission of limited powers to the administrator

in commission or into commission

1 : under the authority of commissioners

2 of a ship : ready for active service

3 : in use or in condition for use The Internet connection is back in commission.

on commission

: with commission serving as partial or full pay for work done an artist working on commission

out of commission

1 : out of active service or use The ferry was put out of commission because of the bad weather.

2 : out of working order The elevator was out of commission.


commissioned; commissioning\-ˈmi-sh(ə-)niŋ \

Definition of commission (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to furnish with a commission: such as

a : to confer a formal commission on was commissioned lieutenant

b : to appoint or assign to a task or function was commissioned to do the biography

2 : to order to be made commissioned a portrait

3 : to put (a ship) in commission The ship was commissioned in 2004.

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for commission

Synonyms: Noun

appointment, assignment, designation

Synonyms: Verb

accredit, authorize, certify, empower, enable, invest, license (also licence), qualify, vest, warrant

Antonyms: Noun

discharge, dismissal, dismission, expulsion, firing

Antonyms: Verb


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of commission in a Sentence


She served on the city's water commission. Both states set up commissions to examine their public schools. She gets a commission for each car she sells. The salespeople in that store all work on commission. a weapon used in the commission of a crime


A portrait of the queen was commissioned. The magazine commissioned a story about the world's best beaches. The report on poverty was commissioned by the governor. The king commissioned the artist to paint his portrait. She was commissioned in the Navy as a captain. The ship was commissioned in 2004.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Beyond posters, the initiative encourages people to share stories about diversity on the commission's ScottsdaleForAll Facebook page. Zahra Ahmad, azcentral, "'Scottsdale for All' hopes to spread inclusiveness," 13 July 2018 His work at Aldeburgh provided further grist for critics who viewed him as a successor to Britten, who co-founded the festival and gave Mr. Knussen his first commission. Harrison Smith, Washington Post, "Oliver Knussen, influential composer of ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ opera, dies at 66," 12 July 2018 DuPage has its own election commission, which handles 10 Aurora precincts. Susan Demar Lafferty, Daily Southtown, "Will County to spend $72,400 to take over Aurora precincts," 12 July 2018 Flowers is a familiar face at the commission's meetings, according to one council member. Lisa Gutierrez, kansascity, "Legalize ‘happy ending’ massages, Lawrence man urges council. His passion is praised," 11 July 2018 The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission's discussion of the program known as PROMISE carried over from the commission's last meeting in June. Colleen Wright, miamiherald, "Broward's PROMISE program "irrelevant" to Nikolas Cruz's massacre, commission says," 10 July 2018 The Spanish Colonial-style home had been designed by architect Wallace Neff, and was his first-ever commission in Beverly Hills. Katherine Clarke, WSJ, "Paul Allen Asks $150 Million for 120 Acres of L.A. Land," 10 July 2018 Bence appealed the commission's ruling to the Board of Zoning Appeals. Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "After long debate, Germantown's Saxony Village is opening apartments aimed at millennials," 6 July 2018 While Richmond has plenty of other Confederate symbols, the commission's mandate was limited to the five giant Confederate statues that dot Monument Avenue, a prestigious residential street lined with mansions and divided by a grassy median. Sarah Rankin, The Christian Science Monitor, "After a year of soul-searching, Richmond reimagines its Confederate monuments," 3 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Last year, the British government commissioned a report on the country’s A.I. landscape from Dame Hall and Jerome Pesenti, the chief executive of BenevolentAI, an artificial intelligence start-up based in London. New York Times, "Silicon Valley’s Giants Take Their Talent Hunt to Cambridge," 3 July 2018 The following year, the U.K. government commissioned a report that found superbugs kill about 700,000 people around the world each year, a figure that could rise to 10 million a year by 2050 if nothing is done. Ari Altstedter,, "The Startups Waging War Against Superbugs," 25 June 2018 That same year, MassBio commissioned a landmark study on women in the life sciences that detailed the extent of a gender gap in Massachusetts. Shirley Leung,, "In 2018, there is no excuse for topless dancers at a corporate event," 14 June 2018 The following year MoMA commissioned from Indiana a more-colorful take on the original design for its holiday-card line. Elizabeth Botten, Smithsonian, "Archives Reveal Touching Stories on the Life of Robert Indiana, the Man Who Invented “LOVE”," 31 May 2018 The city has paid Centro $18.9 million since 2013 to manage the PID, but no taxpayers dollars have been stolen, according to an audit commissioned by the city earlier this year. Richard Webner, San Antonio Express-News, "Husband of alleged Centro embezzler accuses her of fraud in divorce filing," 8 May 2018 The USS Gerald R Ford, the lead ship in the class, was commissioned last year after amassing $13 billion in construction costs. Brad Lendon, CNN, "What the massive US military budget pays for," 28 Mar. 2018 Last year the town commissioned a study to assess the cost and potential benefit of fully extending water, sewer and natural gas services to the area of Route 44 that is under-served. Ken Byron, Courant Community, "Canton Looks At Extending Water, Sewer Service On Route 44," 8 Mar. 2018 Designed to resemble a curvaceous Volkswagen microbus, Hot Dog Bus is a piece of mobile art that was commissioned by the New York City Public Art Fund from Austrian artist Erwin Wurm. Shoshana Wodinsky, The Verge, "We have some questions about this blobby yellow bus that dispenses free hot dogs," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'commission.' 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 commission


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1602, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for commission


Middle English commissioun "delegated authority, warrant delegating authority," borrowed from Anglo-French commission, borrowed from Medieval Latin commissiōn-, commissiō "commitment, entrusting, grant of authority," going back to Late Latin, "joining, engagement, sin," going back to Latin, "commencement of a game," from committere "to join together, engage, place in the keeping of, entrust, bring about" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at commit


derivative of commission entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about commission

Share commission

Phrases Related to commission

Royal Commission

Statistics for commission

Last Updated

4 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for commission

The first known use of commission was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for commission



Financial Definition of commission

What It Is

A commission is a fee paid to an agent as compensation for executing a transaction. It is calculated either as a percentage of the transaction value or as a flat fee.

How It Works

Let's assume you would like to purchase 100 shares of Company XYZ at $35 per share, and your broker charges a 2% commission to make the trade.

The shares themselves would cost $3,500 ($35 x 100 shares), but the broker would also need to be paid for finding someone to sell the shares to you. For their services, they would charge $70 ($3,500 x 2%). The total cost of the transaction would be $3,500 + $70 = $3,570.

Four months later, you decide to sell your XYZ shares. Now selling at $50, you would receive $5,000 ($50 x 100 shares) from the sale. But once again, the brokerage would take 2% ($100), so the actual proceeds from the transaction would total $4,900 ($5,000 - $100).

Although most investors would calculate the profit on the Company XYZ investment as simply the difference between $5,000 and $3,500 (or $1,500 -- +42.85%), the savvy investor takes commissions into account and knows that the actual profit is $4,900 - $3,570 = $1,330 (or +37.25%).

Stock brokers most often come to mind when discussing commissions, but commissions are the major means of compensation for real estate agents, financial advisors, investment bankers, and many others.

Why It Matters

As we demonstrated in the example above, commissions eat into returns and should be considered when making any investment. The Company XYZ investment returned +37.25% after commissions rather than +42.85% -- a full 5.6% of the return went toward paying commissions.

The type of broker you use often dictates the commission you pay. Full-service brokers provide a lot of service in exchange for higher rates. Discount brokers, on the other hand, usually focus on The definition of commission on InvestingAnswersexecuting trades and do little else. Their clients often pay much lower commissions. In either case, commission structures also vary based on other factors like the size of the client's account, the number or size of trades a client makes, the type of trades a client makes, the kind of account the client has, and whether or not the client buys or sells securities online or over the phone.

It is important for investors to understand their trading preferences when evaluating commission structures. Certain fee schedules may be more beneficial for different types of investors and traders.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of commission

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a group of people who have been given the official job of finding information about something or controlling something

: an amount of money paid to an employee for selling something

: the act of committing a crime



English Language Learners Definition of commission (Entry 2 of 2)

: to order or request (something) to be made or done

: to order or request (someone) to make or do something

: to make (someone) an officer in the military


com·mis·sion | \kə-ˈmi-shən \

Kids Definition of commission

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an order granting the power to perform various acts or duties : the right or duty to be performed

2 : a certificate that gives military or naval rank and authority : the rank and authority given He received his commission in the army as a captain.

3 : authority to act as agent for another : a task or piece of business entrusted to an agent

4 : a group of persons given orders and authority to perform specified duties a housing commission

5 : an act of doing something wrong the commission of a crime

6 : a fee paid to an agent for taking care of a piece of business


commissioned; commissioning

Kids Definition of commission (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to give a commission to

2 : to put (a ship) into service

Keep scrolling for more



Legal Definition of commission 

1 : a formal written authorization to perform various acts and duties a notary's commission

2a : authority to act for, in behalf of, or in place of another

b : a task or matter entrusted to one as the agent for another

3a : a group of persons directed to perform a duty

b usually capitalized : a government agency Federal Trade Commission — see also agency

c : a city council having legislative and executive functions

4 : an act of committing something commission of the crime

5 : a fee paid to an agent or employee for transacting a piece of business or performing a service especially : a percentage of the money received paid to the agent responsible for the business

Other Words from commission

commission transitive verb

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on commission

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


evasion of direct action or statement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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