AskDefine | Define commissariat

Dictionary Definition

commissariat n : a stock or supply of foods [syn: provisions, provender, viands, victuals]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A supply of food
  2. The department of an army that supplies provisions for the troops
  3. A department of the government of the Soviet Union


Extensive Definition

A commissariat is the department of an army charged with the provision of supplies, both food and forage, for the troops. The supply of military stores such as ammunition is not included in the duties of a commissariat. In almost every army the duties of transport and supply are performed by the same corps of departmental troops.
In the Major General's Song in Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan, the Major-General hopes to someday know precisely what is meant by commissariat (satirizing the 19th century British officers' lack of concrete military knowledge).


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