is someone delegated
by a superior
to execute a duty or an office; in a formal, legal context, one who has received power from a legitimate superior authority to pass judgment in a certain cause or to take information concerning it.
The word is recorded in English since 1362, for "one to whom special duty is entrusted by a higher power". It derives from Medieval Latin commissarius
, from Latin commissus
(pp. of committere) "entrusted,".
Originally its use was ecclesiastical, as in Commissary Apostolic
or in charge of a Franciscan Commissariat of the Holy Land
The military sense of "official in charge of supply of food, stores, transport" dates to 1489. A Commissary was an officer of a Commissariat. The word continued to be used in ranks of the supply departments of the British Army until 1888.
In the United States armed forces
, as well as the United Nations, it has the derived meaning of a store for provisions.
Modern commissaries are quite similar to supermarkets, providing members with most of the same available in the U.S. economy regardless of where they are stationed world-wide. Commisaries sell primarily grocery articles; other items can be purchased at a base exchange
In the US film industry, the word commissary is often used to mean something which is a refectory.
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