Definition of commission in English:

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Pronunciation: /kəˈmiSHən/
(abbreviation comm.)


1An instruction, command, or duty given to a person or group of people: his commission to redesign the building he received a commission to act as an informer
More example sentences
  • I may not have realised all the dreams and hopes I had in my youthful idealism, but I have Jesus and his commands and his commissions.
  • Unfortunately, he got drunk after receiving the sacred instruments of his commission and fell asleep by the roadside.
  • Before Murdoch sailed, Fisher, now the Australian prime minister, gave him an official commission to report on the progress of the Gallipoli campaign.
task, employment, job, project, mission, assignment, undertaking;
duty, charge, responsibility
informal marching orders
1.1An order for something, especially a work of art, to be produced: Mozart at last received a commission to write an opera
More example sentences
  • He moved to Paris in 1767, and after a couple of years had become so popular that he received regular commissions to write two or three operas a year for various theatres.
  • Equipped with an English degree and a dossier of poetry, she used to move in circles with short-story writers and poets until she stumbled on a commission to write her first play.
  • For her premiere commission, she ‘wrote what I knew about’, her experience of working in inner-city primary schools.
1.2A work produced in response to a commission.
Example sentences
  • The foundry was also responsible for many local commissions, including York's first gas lamps and the railings for St Leonard's Place.
  • The renowned sculptor Bob Allen, famous for commissions at Canary Wharf and of the late Queen Mother, will launch the event on Saturday with a private preview.
  • Later he worked as composer-in-residence at Glasgow's Tron Theatre, an invaluable experience as far as his later film commissions were concerned.
1.3 archaic The authority to perform a task or certain duties.
Example sentences
  • The active duty officer has a solemn professional responsibility based on his oath of office and commission for the official tasks he undertakes.
  • It is essential that we start this project with clearly defined commission.
  • What we also found was that at the same time Mr Smith was in the employ and commission of the fishery company.
warrant, license, sanction, authority
2A group of people officially charged with a particular function: the United Nations High Commission for Refugees
More example sentences
  • The commission, the inspection body for the health service, has undertaken only 15 such reviews nationally in nearly four years - none previously in Yorkshire.
  • Minority community representatives should be included in all government-appointed educational bodies and commissions.
  • The commission has the authority to summon anyone, including state officials without the approval of the president.
committee, board, council, panel, directorate, delegation
3An amount of money, typically a set percentage of the value involved, paid to an agent in a commercial transaction: foreign banks may charge a commission he sold cosmetics on commission
More example sentences
  • If they sell on, a South African agent will charge a commission of 7 per cent.
  • There is a commission charge of 1 per cent of value on each ATM transaction.
  • Customers should not pay more than a 5 per cent charge on all pension contributions on a commission basis.
percentage, brokerage, share, portion, dividend, premium, fee, consideration, bonus
informal cut, take, rake-off, slice
4A warrant conferring the rank of officer in an army, navy, or air force: he has resigned his commission
More example sentences
  • I resigned my commission and joined the Army National Guard after retiring from a career in finance.
  • He went from being a lieutenant in the Soviet ‘Red’ Army to earning a commission in the U.S. Air Force, and has never looked back.
  • In 1969, he applied for Officer Candidate School and earned a commission as an Infantry officer.
5The action of committing a crime or offense: use of a deadly weapon in the commission of a felony
More example sentences
  • The suspension was prompted by what the SCPO saw as a risk of presumed future commission of criminal offences.
  • The Apex Court accepted the contention of the petitioners that mens rea is necessary for commission of offences under these Sections.
  • Furthermore, the evidence relates to the actual commission of the offence, rather than to an admission to an already completed offence.
perpetration, committing, committal, execution


[with object]
1Give an order for or authorize the production of (something such as a building, piece of equipment, or work of art): the portrait was commissioned by his widow in 1792
More example sentences
  • In the USA, a new US $5million production line was commissioned at the New Century Kansas facility.
  • After a fruitless one-year search, I commissioned the design and production of smile pins.
  • The sculpture was commissioned by O'Connor, formerly of North Cork and now resident in the UK.
formal bespeak
1.1Order or authorize (a person or organization) to do or produce something: they commissioned an architect to manage the building project
More example sentences
  • The Heytesbury Village Hall Development Group commissioned Michael Fowler architects to design the hall and nine houses.
  • Miller commissioned the architect John Kinross to refurbish and extend his home in a manner appropriate to a member of the Edwardian nouveau riche.
  • The former MP had commissioned William Chambers, George III's architectural tutor, and Capability Brown to rebuild his estate, Milton Abbey.
engage, contract, charge, employ, hire, recruit, retain, appoint, enlist, book, sign up
2Bring (something newly produced, such as a factory or machine) into working condition: we had a few hiccups getting the heating equipment commissioned
More example sentences
  • The other approach, he says, is to determine what systems or equipment should be fully commissioned based on the impact a failure can have on an organization and its reliability needs.
  • Before the new equipment at Slade Lane is commissioned at Christmas, there will be more weekend closures later in the year to finish it, meaning further disruption.
  • I accept the submission that a contributing factor to the need for extra training was the delay by the contractor in having all the equipment in place, commissioned and operating on time.
2.1Bring (a warship) into readiness for active service: the aircraft carrier Midway was commissioned in 1945
More example sentences
  • The ships were commissioned between 1993 and 1999.
  • All four ships were commissioned in October 1995.
  • The ship, commissioned in 1955, is already undergoing work docked at Suisan Bay near San Francisco.
3Appoint (someone) to the rank of officer in the armed services: he was commissioned after attending midshipman school (as adjective commissioned) a commissioned officer
More example sentences
  • He was commissioned into the US army just in time to see action in the final battles of the Mexican war.
  • Brooke's poems were published in 1911, and after a year wandering in the North America and the South Seas, he was commissioned into the Royal Navy.
  • In 1968, he was commissioned as an Infantry officer through ROTC after graduation from the University of Florida.



in commission

(Of a ship, vehicle, machine, etc.) in use or in service.
Example sentences
  • While the Royal Yacht Britannia was in commission, Patricia was the only ship allowed to sail ahead of her when the Queen was on board, a right which would be exercised annually by escorting the Royal Yacht out of Portsmouth.
  • Well, we know which one that is, since the Republic has only one of those experimental ships in commission right now.
  • During those decades, the reserve provided core crews for ships not in commission and personnel to augment crews of both active U.S. Navy ships and the navy shore establishment upon mobilization for war.
in service, in use;
working, functional, operative, up and running, in operation, in working order

out of commission

Not in service; not in working order.
Example sentences
  • How long do you think your car will be out of commission?
  • But an engine defect put the car out of commission at 14, 500 kilometers.
  • Since my car was out of commission, I decided to take a walk, after all the ‘Old Barns’ wasn't very far from my house.
not in service, not in use, unserviceable;
not working, inoperative, out of order, malfunctioning, broken, down
2.1(Of a person) unable to work or function normally, especially through illness or injury.
Example sentences
  • I do not understand what I thought I was missing; it's not as if I had been rowing for years when my injury put me so out of commission.
  • No federal law governs health-club contracts, but you should be able to cancel if you move more than 25 miles from the club or an injury puts you out of commission.
  • A major injury puts you out of commission for a minimum of four weeks.



Example sentences
  • The task of designing a commissionable air barrier is divided into two parts-an accounting part and a technical
  • The rate is not commissionable for Travel Agents.
  • To help your clients experience the ultimate Orlando getaway, suggest one of the following commissionable packages available through this year.


Middle English: via Old French from Latin commissio(n-), from committere 'entrust' (see commit).

  • Commission came into English via Old French from Latin committere ‘entrust’. Late Middle English commit is from the same root. Commissionaire (mid 17th century) came via French from medieval Latin commissarius ‘person in charge’, from committere. Committee, however, was formed in the late 15th century directly from commit and originally meant someone entrusting with something.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: com·mis·sion

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