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


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

Evers is the chairman of the commission and control of the panel is split between Democrats and Republicans. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Tony Evers finds more cash for teen correctional facilities, but says he may need more time to shut Lincoln Hills," 8 July 2019 Accounting for real estate commissions and other fees, the sale comes out as a bit of a wash for the 10-time all-star. Jack Flemming,, "Hot Property: Rocker Pete Wentz readies to cut a tie in Encino," 6 July 2019 Of the seven members on the authority’s board, three would be chosen by the county commission and four would be chosen by UAB. Ivana Hrynkiw |,, "Cooper Green: What patients should know about healthcare partnership with UAB," 4 July 2019 The sales department does not get Fridays off, but is offered commission and bonuses that are not offered to other departments. Kathryn Vasel, CNN, "Four day work weeks sound too good to be true. These companies make it work," 1 July 2019 The boards and commissions involved range from obscure boards dealing with licenses for trades such as real estate appraisers to high-profile panels like the State Board of Education. Gray Rohrer,, "Gov. Ron DeSantis kicked out 215 of Rick Scott’s appointments, but 157 didn’t go anywhere," 1 July 2019 And this week a commission set up by Prosperity UK, a think-tank, under the auspices of two Tory MPs, Greg Hands and Nicky Morgan, published a report on alternatives. The Economist, "The search for ways to keep the Irish border open after Brexit," 29 June 2019 NBC News has reached out to the commission and the office of current president Adama Barrow for comment. NBC News, "Gambia's ex-president, Yahya Jammeh, accused of rape or sexual assault by three women," 27 June 2019 The arrest was the result of a joint investigation by the anticorruption commission and Hong Kong’s markets regulator, the Securities and Futures Commission. Steven Russolillo, WSJ, "Former Hong Kong Exchange Official Arrested in IPO Graft Probe," 27 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Overnight, the University of Alaska Foundation released the results of an opinion poll commissioned by the Cromer Group, a national firm. Anchorage Daily News, "As the budget veto vote nears, UA foundation poll suggests most of Alaskans favor override," 10 July 2019 In response to the 2017 surge in long balls, MLB commissioned a study to search for a root cause. Greg Luca,, "Higher, farther, faster: Missions riding wave of baseball’s home run surge," 28 June 2019 The Republican budget would commission a $2.5 million study to review new ways to pay for roads based on how many miles drivers travel. Molly Beck, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin Assembly approves budget after adding provisions to secure votes from last Republicans," 25 June 2019 According to a poll commissioned by supporters in late February and early March, 72 percent of the 1,000 voters surveyed support such a program. Hillary Borrud | The Oregonian/oregonlive,, "Oregon Senate Republicans’ walkout could kill hundreds of bills," 22 June 2019 In 1968, the Navy commissioned a study, known as the Ault report, which detailed the problems and recommended several fixes. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Topgun at 50: Navy flight program that spawned popular movie wrestles with its legacy," 16 June 2019 According to a YouGov poll commissioned by the Huffington Post, the percentage of French who have a positive image of Trump is 19%, up from 7% in November 2017. Gregory Viscusi, Fortune, "Trump Just Got More Popular in France. Here's Why," 5 June 2019 Few things can spark childhood imagination like space exploration, according to a recent online Harris poll commissioned by LEGO. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "LEGO Unveils New Apollo 11 Kit for 50th Anniversary of Moon Landing," 30 May 2019 Yet our county government is considering spending $5 million on commissioning statues, and $125,000 for a single painting? Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, "Letter: Santa Clara County supervisors get $2M/year for salary, staff," 26 June 2019

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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Learn More about commission

Statistics for commission

Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

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
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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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).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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