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 September, the proposal had a public hearing that lasted more than four hours, which had been scheduled to continue at the Oct. 17 plan commission meeting. Evan Frank, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A baseball complex previously proposed in Pewaukee and Summit has a new destination," 11 Nov. 2019 The change narrowed the scope of who could be charged with murder, including defendants whose actions resulted in a death during the commission of another crime, regardless of intent. Dominic Fracassa,, "Golden Gate Bridge death: Breed’s brother may receive shorter sentence," 8 Nov. 2019 Meanwhile, one holdover board member listed a contract with the system that earned him a commission of more than $20,000. Kevin Rector,, "UMMS board files first disclosures since ‘Healthy Holly’ scandal over deals rocked hospital system and Baltimore," 8 Nov. 2019 Slider pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony on Thursday in Delaware Superior Court. Fox News, "Delaware man pleads guilty to killing ex-wife during a drug high that had him believing a TV show they were watching was real," 4 Nov. 2019 The plaintiffs say that Christie’s earned a commission of more than $3.8 million on the 2013 sale. Elizabeth A. Harris, New York Times, "Christie’s Auctioned a $40 Million Diamond. Was It Stolen?," 30 Oct. 2019 Brown, a Pittsburgh commit and a Sun Sentinel Super 11 pick, was charged with robbery with no firearm or weapon, kidnapping during the commission of a felony and felony battery, according to Palm Beach County court records. Adam Lichtenstein,, "Palm Beach Gardens star football player Timothy Brown charged with robbery, felony battery, kidnapping," 28 Oct. 2019 On Monday, a commission of the New York City council approved the plans to erect a bronze statue of New Yorkers Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Sojourner Truth in August 2020. Sofia Quaglia, Quartz, "The US has fewer than 400 statues of women—but that’s changing," 23 Oct. 2019 According to electronic court records, he was also charged with first-degree assault, use of a firearm during commission of a felony and related charges in the District Court For Anne Arundel County in Glen Burnie related to a Sept. 21 incident. Catalina Righter,, "Two charged with assault in Hampstead, police find man to have outstanding warrant on firearms charges," 14 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Crystal Karpewicz, who lives in Fawn Grove, Pennsylvania, commissioned a book sculpture for her mother-in-law, an avid Harry Potter fan. Kathi Santora,, "This Cecil County artist will turn your favorite book into a sculpture made from its pages," 11 Nov. 2019 Although there has been no independent polling, the Humane Society of the United States, which lobbied Congress for the ban, commissioned a survey of 1,000 Puerto Ricans in 2017 that found that 43 percent backed the ban and 21 percent opposed it., "Breeding aggressive roosters to fight, often to the death, for the sake of gambling and entertainment is barbaric, said Yolanda Álvarez, the former director of the Humane Society of Puerto Rico, who is working on a doctoral thesis on the history of cockfighting on the island.," 10 Nov. 2019 One Fair Wage commissioned the report, which was conducted with University of California, Berkeley and the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, a nonprofit organization that works to improve wages and working conditions for restaurant workers. Abdel Jimenez,, "As city considers minimum wage proposal, a new study finds that black female tipped workers are struggling to make ends meet," 7 Nov. 2019 Berkeley commissioned Donahue to create the monuments in 2003. Sarah Ravani,, "Creator of Berkeley I-80 overpass sculptures threatens legal fight," 5 Nov. 2019 The company commissioned an independent review in 2014 to assess the allegations and rejected them. USA Today, "The Pulse nightclub shooting and other G4S scandals," 31 Oct. 2019 Earlier, Lauren was Quartz’s deputy Ideas editor, commissioning work from outside contributors around the world. Kevin J. Delaney, Quartz, "Remembering Lauren Brown, our colleague, mentor, and friend," 30 Oct. 2019 The effort, commissioned in May by City Council President Kevin Kelley, is part of Cleveland’s efforts toward becoming a sustainable city – a green city on a blue lake. Robert Higgs, cleveland, "Study identifies 20 city-owned sites where Cleveland might consider installing solar arrays," 29 Oct. 2019 Diggs commissioned Gamache to create a portrait of Randy Moss on cleats when Moss was inducted in the ring of honor. Kevin Allen, USA TODAY, "Minnesota Vikings receiver Adam Thielen, renowned NFL shoe artist work together for charity," 24 Oct. 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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Statistics for commission

Last Updated

15 Nov 2019

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


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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