[kom-uh-sahr, kom-uh-sahr]
the head of any of the major governmental divisions of the U.S.S.R.: called minister since 1946.
an official in any communist government whose duties include political indoctrination, detection of political deviation, etc.

1915–20; < Russian komissár < German Kommissar < Medieval Latin commissārius commissary Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
commissar (ˈkɒmɪˌsɑː, ˌkɒmɪˈsɑː)
1.  Also called: political commissar an official of the Communist Party responsible for political education, esp in a military unit
2.  Also called: People's Commissar, Now called: minister (before 1946) the head of a government department
[C20: from Russian kommissar, from German, from Medieval Latin commissāriuscommissary]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1918, from Rus. komissar, from Ger. Kommissar "commissioner," ult. from M.L. commissarius (see commissary).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
commissar [(kom-uh-sahr)]

In various communist systems of government, an official assigned to a group to ensure the group's conformity to Communist party doctrine. The heads of government departments in the former Soviet Union were called commissars.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
So large, that it did not escape notice and one of the farmers was hauled before the local commissar.
We received a briefing, but it is from the political commissar or a senior staff officer, not an operational commander.
In addition, the commissar that was supposedly airbrushed out looks actually as if he was added in.
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