Definition of commissar in English:

commissar

Line breaks: com¦mis|sar
Pronunciation: /ˌkɒmɪˈsɑː
 
/

noun

  • 1An official of the Communist Party, especially in the former Soviet Union or present-day China, responsible for political education and organization: films that are passed by the political commissar
    More example sentences
    • There are no aging commissars clinging on to party rule.
    • In time of war the political imperatives of the commissar might become subordinated to the professional needs of the field commander, but the concession was only temporary.
    • The code officer served as secretary and the commissar as prosecutor.
  • 1.1A head of a government department in the former Soviet Union before 1946.
    More example sentences
    • Again, people's commissars, like tsarist ministers, were heads of departments and belonged more to the bureaucracy than to politics.
    • Under the able leadership of the old Bolshevik A.P. Smirnov, the commissar of agriculture, expertise and science were privileged over politics.
    • He gave his commissar of enlightenment, Anatoly V. Lunarcharsky, two weeks to work out the details.
  • 1.2A strict or prescriptive figure of authority: our academic commissars
    More example sentences
    • Again, there is no sense of writing to please commissars or to follow a set political agenda; this music unmistakably comes from the heart.
    • The reason we are opposed to this law is that it is an extension of a very bad principle that turns police officers into commissars.
    • They still have an irrational fear of the newspaper accusing them of being socialist commissars, but we are living in a different century.

Origin

early 20th century (Russian Revolution): from Russian komissar, from French commissaire, from medieval Latin commissarius (see commissary).

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