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

  • n. The act of granting certain powers or the authority to carry out a particular task or duty.
  • n. The authority so granted.
  • n. The matter or task so authorized: Investigation of fraud was their commission.
  • n. A document conferring such authorization.
  • n. A group of people officially authorized to perform certain duties or functions: The Federal Trade Commission investigates false advertising.
  • n. A ruling council within the Mafia that adjudicates family disputes and regulates family activities.
  • n. The act of committing or perpetrating: the commission of a crime.
  • n. A fee or percentage allowed to a sales representative or an agent for services rendered.
  • n. An official document issued by a government, conferring on the recipient the rank of a commissioned officer in the armed forces.
  • n. The rank and powers so conferred.
  • transitive v. To grant a commission to. See Synonyms at authorize.
  • transitive v. To place an order for: commissioned a new symphony for the festival.
  • transitive v. To put (a ship) into active service.
  • idiom in commission In active service. Used of a ship.
  • idiom in commission In use or in usable condition.
  • idiom on commission With a sales commission serving as full or partial recompense for the work done: sells boats on commission.
  • idiom out of commission Not in active service. Used of a ship.
  • idiom out of commission Not in use or working condition.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A sending or mission (to do or accomplish something).
  • n. An official charge or authority to do something, often used of military officers.
  • n. A body or group of people, officially tasked with carrying out a particular function. Eg: The European Commission, The Electoral Commission, The Federal Communications Commission.
  • n. A fee charged by an agent or broker for carrying out a transaction. Eg: Reseller commission, Finder's fee.
  • n. the act of committing (e.g. a crime)
  • n. The name of a service provided to validate the completeness and accuracy of a project or venture.
  • v. To send or officially charge someone or some group to do something.
  • v. To place an order for (often piece of art); as, commission a portrait.
  • v. To put into active service; as, commission a ship.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of committing, doing, or performing; the act of perpetrating.
  • n. The act of intrusting; a charge; instructions as to how a trust shall be executed.
  • n. The duty or employment intrusted to any person or persons; a trust; a charge.
  • n. A formal written warrant or authority, granting certain powers or privileges and authorizing or commanding the performance of certain duties.
  • n. A certificate conferring military or naval rank and authority.
  • n. A company of persons joined in the performance of some duty or the execution of some trust.
  • n.
  • n. The acting under authority of, or on account of, another.
  • n. The thing to be done as agent for another.
  • n. The brokerage or allowance made to a factor or agent for transacting business for another. See Del credere.
  • transitive v. To give a commission to; to furnish with a commission; to empower or authorize.
  • transitive v. To send out with a charge or commission.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To give a commission to; empower or authorize by commission.
  • To send with a mandate or authority; send as a commission.
  • Synonyms To appoint, depute, delegate.
  • To order, as a war-ship, into active service, or to place in commission with formal ceremony.
  • n. The act of committing or doing: often with the implication that the thing done is morally wrong: as, the commission of a crime.
  • n. The act of intrusting, as a charge or duty.
  • n. That which is committed, intrusted, or delivered.
  • n. The warrant by which any trust is held or any authority exercised.
  • n. Specifically— A warrant granted by government authority to a person, or to a body of persons, to inquire into and report on any subject.
  • n. The document issued by the government to officers in the army and navy, judges, justices of the peace, and others, conferring authority to perform their various functions; also, the power thus granted.
  • n. A writ which issues from a court of law for various purposes, such as the taking of evidence from witnesses who are unable to appear in court.
  • n. Hence Charge; order; mandate; authority given.
  • n. A body of persons intrusted jointly with the performance of certain special duties, usually of a public or legal character, either permanently or temporarily.
  • n. In com., authority delegated by another for the purchase and sale of goods; the position or business of an agent; agency: thus, to trade or do business on commission is to buy or sell for another by his authority.
  • n. The allowance made or the percentage given to a factor or agent for transacting business, or to an executor, administrator, or trustee, as his compensation for administering an estate.
  • n. See to put in commission, below.
  • n. In the United States navy, to transfer (a ship) from the navy-yard authorities to the command of the officer ordered in charge. Upon this transfer being made the ensign and pendant are hoisted, and the ship is then said to be in commission.
  • n. Synonyms Perpetration.
  • n. Percentage, brokerage, fee.
  • n. A shirt.
  • n. In naval use, a period of active service of a war-ship, from the time she is put into commission until she is again out of commission. In the British navy this period is from 2 to 5 years. In the United States navy there is no fixed length of commission.

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

  • n. the act of granting authority to undertake certain functions
  • n. a special group delegated to consider some matter
  • n. an official document issued by a government and conferring on the recipient the rank of an officer in the armed forces
  • n. a fee for services rendered based on a percentage of an amount received or collected or agreed to be paid (as distinguished from a salary)
  • n. a formal statement of a command or injunction to do something
  • v. put into commission; equip for service; of ships
  • v. charge with a task
  • n. the state of being in good working order and ready for operation
  • n. the act of committing a crime
  • n. a special assignment that is given to a person or group
  • v. place an order for
  • n. a group of representatives or delegates


Middle English commissioun, from Latin commissiō, commissiōn-, from commissus, past participle of committere, to entrust; see commit.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin commissio ("sending together; commission"), from prefix com- ("with"), + noun of action missio ("sending"), from perfect passive participle missus ("sent"), from the verb mittō, + noun of action suffix -io. (Wiktionary)


  • In numerous letters to various editors after September 11, he protested that he had never meant to endorse “terrorism,” which he defined as the commission of “random acts of terror against people.”

    Deconstructing Obama

  • To a company, a commission is a bit like a tax in that their expense goes up when sales go up & often commission rates increase for heavier sales.

    Tax Cuts for the Rich, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

  • That quote made me wonder if the commission is authorized to smack people.

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  • "I wouldn't use the word 'commission' anymore," she says.

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  • This commission is a little late to the party, and what the hell is Jeff Greason doing on the list?

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  • KING: Senator Leahy, in The Boston Globe today, in an op-ed piece, you continue your effort to get what you call a commission of inquiry, to look back into the practices -- the detainee interrogation practices, what you call the torture committed during the Bush administration.

    CNN Transcript May 3, 2009

  • KING: Senator Leahy, in the Boston Globe today, in an op-ed piece, you continue your effort to get what you call a commission of inquiry to look back into the practices, the detainee interrogation practices, what you call the torture committed during the Bush administration.

    CNN Transcript May 3, 2009

  • This commission is authorized to mediate and resolve conflicts between financial institutions and the consumer.

    Fraud a la Mexicana

  • Since the commission is always negotiable, and the agent's only true incentive is the commission, there's good reason for them to take on the extra work, and the seller can potentially realize the same or more net with a lower selling price.

    Something's Gotta Give

  • For the pièce de resistance, the commission is also suggesting that it and the Council secretariat should produce more joint strategy papers, as well as co-ordinating more closely in crisis management, while having top officials abroad taking on a dual role as head of the commission delegation, and special representative of the Council.

    Still navel gazing


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