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.

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

That inspired members of the commission to wonder if that was really the output of a healthy democratic process. Kelsey Piper, Vox, "This city just approved a new election system never tried before in America," 15 Nov. 2018 But if the Soyuz is out of commission for long and the space station has to be de-crewed, that means NASA won’t be able to test out its vehicles in order to get off of Russian technology. Loren Grush, The Verge, "Today’s failed Soyuz launch complicates the future of the International Space Station," 11 Oct. 2018 With McCain out of commission, a majority in the Senate needs only 50 of 99 votes. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "What happened to coal," 21 Aug. 2018 Patients generally pay between $10,000 and $18,000 (plus OR and anesthesia fees) and are out of commission for a week or two (child care is a must during this stretch). Jolene Edgar, Allure, "Life in Plastic: A Complete Guide to the "Mommy Makeover"," 16 July 2018 Last year, hurricanes knocked many drug factories in Puerto Rico and southern states out of commission for long stretches. Washington Post, "FDA to more aggressively tackle disruptive drug shortages," 12 July 2018 The surface lot has only been out of commission for weeks. Bryce Airgood, Detroit Free Press, "Andiamo CEO fires back after Royal Oak mayor pans food," 9 July 2018 Those awards were all part of the commission’s Organizational Support Program, which provides general funding to cultural nonprofits. James Hebert,, "San Diego cultural groups awarded $11.4 million in latest funding from arts commission," 29 June 2018 Members of the commission — all of whom are now Hogan appointees — serve staggered five-year terms. Scott Dance,, "Gov. Larry Hogan names longtime federal civil servant to lead Public Service Commission," 21 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Roland Mouret has chosen to present many of his past designs in new fashion stories specially commissioned for the book, styled by his long-standing collaborator and coconspirator Sophia Neophitou, who oversees the 10 Magazine publishing empire. Mark Holgate, Vogue, "Roland Mouret’s New Book About His Life and Work Brings His Past Right Here Into the Present," 6 Nov. 2018 Across that two-acre field lies Richmond Hall, the last campus building commissioned by Dominique de Menil, in 1996. Alexandra Lange, Curbed, "A museum grows in Houston," 1 Nov. 2018 Public security audits of election technology are rare; the last major ones, commissioned by California and Ohio in 2007, were scathing. Benjamin Wofford, Vox, "The midterms are already hacked. You just don’t know it yet.," 25 Oct. 2018 Mary had the bandeau tiara commissioned in 1932 specifically to accommodate the brooch. Tamara Abraham, Harper's BAZAAR, "Princess Eugenie's Wedding Tiara Was Surprisingly Similar to Meghan Markle's," 12 Oct. 2018 Although the engine still worked, the Navy elected to replace the engine before commissioning in January 2019. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Navy Stealth Destroyer Gets a 15-Ton Engine Transplant," 5 Sep. 2018 Bedrooms have fathoms-deep baths and a mix of antique and contemporary furniture, much of the latter commissioned for the property from makers like Don Howell and Matthew Hilton. Jo Rodgers, Condé Nast Traveler, "Inside the U.K.'s Most Anticipated Hotel Opening This Summer," 31 Aug. 2018 The painting is one in a trio of new murals that tourism agency Experience Scottsdale commissioned from local artist Lauren Lee, who is well known for her vibrant murals scattered throughout metro Phoenix. Lorraine Longhi, azcentral, "How Instagram is inspiring Scottsdale art for a new generation," 10 July 2018 The Ford, commissioned in 2017 with an operational emphasis on automation over manpower, has already reached $13 billion. Kevin Schmidt, USA TODAY, "U.S. lead in aircraft carriers tested by new super ships from China and Russia," 27 June 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.

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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

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Last Updated

13 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for commission

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

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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

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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

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Comments on commission

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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