Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An official of the Communist Party in charge of political indoctrination and the enforcement of party loyalty.
  • n. The head of a commissariat in the Soviet Union until 1946.
  • n. A person who tries to control public opinion.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An official of the Communist Party, often attached to a military unit, who was responsible for political education.
  • n. In the Soviet Union, the head of a commissariat.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an official of the Communist Party who was assigned to teach party principles to a military unit

Etymologies

Russian komissar, from German Kommissar, deputy, from Medieval Latin commissārius, agent; see commissary.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Russian комиссар, from German Kommissar (“commissioner”), from Latin commissarius. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • … A commissar is a political officer whose position is equal to that of the commander of a given military unit and has the authority to countermand the orders of the commander.

    Human Resources « POLICE INSPECTOR BLOG

  • Visiting Warrior Mark Steyn drew a rapt crowd of, well, two dozen, as he addressed an Ontario government legislative committee, calling the head of the Ontario Human Rights Commission a "commissar" and predicting terrorist violence if rights commissions persist:

    Archive 2009-02-01

  • But I do it on my own dime and I don't see why 'commissar' Hall and her colleagues shouldn't also do it on their own dime.

    Keep it inside, for the sake of the children.

  • "We need to make Russia strong again," says Nikolai Panchenko, a Nashi "commissar," or leader.

    Russia accused of launching first massive cyberstrike against Estonia

  • She says, "commissar," which is, of course, the -- a Soviet official.

    John Maynard Keynes: Fighting for Freedom, 1937-1946

  • "There's ample power in the Treasury Department and the Energy Department, etcetera to get these things done," he insisted, "and I don't think there should be a commissar, which is really what this is.

    Common Folk Using Common Sense

  • General of the PLA and political commissar of General Logistics Department

    A Family Affair

  • Dr. Besigye left the ruling party in 1999, after rising to a top position of political commissar.

    Ugandan Physician Offers Revolutionary Cure

  • For example, when he was vice party secretary of Fujian from 1996 to 2000, he served concurrently as vice director of the Committee on National Defense Mobilization within the Nanjing Military Region, director of the National Defense Mobilization of Fujian Province, and the first military commissar of the Fujian Artillery Reserves Corp.

    The Military Maneuvers of Xi Jinping

  • On the same day that the Hu-Obama summit was held, the PLA announced the appointment of General Liu Yuan as political commissar of the General Logistics Department.

    The Military Maneuvers of Xi Jinping

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