com·​mis·​sion | \ kə-ˈmi-shən How to pronounce commission (audio) \
plural commissions

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
2a : an authorization or command to act in a prescribed manner or to perform prescribed acts : charge a commission to serve as notary public
b : a formal request to produce something (especially an artistic work) in exchange for payment … he found his footing as a Western artist when he received a commission in 1958 to create two … paintings …— William Grimes also : a work produced by commission … the play was a commission of the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis … — Sharon Eberson
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\ kə-​ˈmi-​sh(ə-​)niŋ How to pronounce commissioning (audio) \

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

Noun 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 Verb 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 In neighboring Washington County, which has the most fracking wells in the state, Republicans took control of the county commission for the first time in two decades last fall. Lisa Friedman, New York Times, "In Crucial Pennsylvania, Democrats Worry a Fracking Ban Could Sink Them," 27 Jan. 2020 That probably cost the Democrats control of the county commission since President Barack Obama brought Democrats out to the polls in high numbers that year. Scott Wartman,, "Todd Portune dies: Longtime Democrat helped shape Cincinnati, Hamilton County," 26 Jan. 2020 Li Bin, a deputy head of China’s health commission, also said on Wednesday that the virus could mutate and spread more easily. Vivian Wang,, "Wuhan, center of coronavirus outbreak, is being cut off by Chinese authorities," 22 Jan. 2020 As art historian Michael Rainer tells Viennese daily , a 17th-century biography of Dürer details a wall painting ordered by the emperor, but no other records of the commission survive. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian Magazine, "Artwork Discovered in Vienna Cathedral’s Gift Shop May Be the Work of German Renaissance Master Albrecht Dürer," 13 Jan. 2020 McGregor has been out of commission since his 2018 loss to boxer Floyd Mayweather. Michelle Krupa, CNN, "Start your Monday smart: China trade, 2020 Dems, NCAA football, Oscar noms, NFL," 12 Jan. 2020 Does the destroyer lose a radar tower that puts it out of commission for a few days? Peter Opaskar, Ars Technica, "Forget Top Gun: Maverick—let’s settle Blue Thunder vs. Airwolf once and for all," 10 Jan. 2020 The military commissions, authorized by a 2009 law, are a hybrid between a military tribunal and a civilian court. Jerry Dunleavy, Washington Examiner, "Justice delayed: 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed appears in Guantanamo courtroom as trial approaches," 21 Jan. 2020 Uber’s commission, which is 25% of the ride price, would also go up with higher rates. Carolyn Said,, "Uber tests letting California drivers set own rates," 21 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Berry cited a traffic study commissioned by the developer that shows traffic in the area had gone down in the past 12 years. Lorraine Longhi, azcentral, "'I feel gutted like a fish': Scottsdale OKs more density in rural neighborhood despite strong opposition from residents," 22 Jan. 2020 Indeed, a study commissioned by California’s attorney general estimated that getting set for the new law could cost businesses as much as $55 billion., "Boston firms prep for California data privacy law - The Boston Globe," 1 Jan. 2020 In May, the Bay Area Council Economic Institute released a study, commissioned by the A’s, saying the ballpark would generate $7.3 billion in economic benefits over 10 years. Sarah Ravani,, "Oakland Assembly: With giant food hall, Jack London Square again seeks to fulfill potential," 24 Dec. 2019 While a second 115-kilovolt SQ line would de-constrain one section of the Railbelt transmission system, a 2017 study commissioned by AEA recommended against the project for its high costs, though a specific price was not cited. Elwood Brehmer, Anchorage Daily News, "Bradley Lake power line outage from wildfire tops $10M in cost to Alaska Railbelt ratepayers," 13 Dec. 2019 State of the Period, a study commissioned by Thinx and PERIOD, shows that U.S. students face considerable barriers to accessing period products. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: Religion is what Christmas is all about, Mr. Rinaldi; Free the period, Colorado; The high cost of dam safety (12/11/19)," 11 Dec. 2019 The baseballs weren’t juiced during a record-setting 2019 regular season, according to a study commissioned by Major League Baseball. Jake Seiner,, "MLB study: inconsistent seams contributed to power surge," 11 Dec. 2019 The water study commissioned by The Times showed the main water supply system, which provides about 60 percent of the capital’s water, was especially compromised. Anatoly Kurmanaev, New York Times, "Venezuela’s Water System is Collapsing," 19 Oct. 2019 The percent of people classified as lonely increased from 54% in 2018 to 61% in 2019, according to the report commissioned by the insurer Cigna. Jayne O'donnell, USA TODAY, "That cushy work-at-home job can lead to social isolation, mental and physical health risks," 24 Jan. 2020

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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Time Traveler for commission

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for commission

Last Updated

8 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Commission.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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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


How to pronounce commission (audio)

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
formal : 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 How to pronounce commission (audio) \

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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