One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A uniformed door attendant at a hotel, theater, or other building.
- ‘When they retired, they found their services in demand as bank guards, security men on the wharves, at the city's warehouses and hongs, and as commissionaires at hotels, restaurants and nightclubs.’
- ‘Usually a busy thoroughfare, at weekends the foyer was deserted but for a commissionaire and a receptionist.’
- ‘The imposing flight of steps outside, flanked by art deco lamp standards and a uniformed commissionaire, certainly suggests something special.’
- ‘A commissionaire guides me through heavy wooden doors, past towering marble pillars into a vast circular entrance hall covered from floor to ceiling in intricate frescos.’
- ‘I remember one occasion, he threatened the commissionaire in reception with the sack if he didn't switch off the television!’
- ‘Even the commissionaires on the door, who have been there from the days when I first started out, always give me a big welcome and I know it will tug at my heart strings when I walk down those marble halls again.’
- ‘Just to round off my walk, the commissionaire, a white-Cuban chap with the physical presence of an elephant, challenged me at the entrance to my hotel: ‘Que quiere?’’
- ‘In my father's day it was much more of a command culture, commissionaires signing people in, priority for directors in the lifts.’
- ‘It is impressive both in terms of its collection and its architecture but the moment that impressed me the most was the privilege of chatting with a commissionaire as I stopped by the entrance to the main exhibits area.’
- ‘He is manhandled out of the room, down a labyrinth of hallways, and then finally deposited in the lobby with a firm reminder to sign out and leave his pass with the commissionaire.’
- ‘To access the elevator he had to collect an electronic tag from the commissionaire, who punched in its encoded number.’
- ‘The place had a uniformed commissionaire, a dress circle and rude behaviour was ruthlessly stamped out by frightening torch-wielding usherettes.’
- ‘The mistake was made because the usual commissionaire was unavailable to raise the flag on that particular day.’
- ‘Oddly, the entire show was performed in the foyer of the Royal Festival Hall, London, in front of a motley audience of fans, a few bystanders, some wearied commissionaires and people outside, looking in through the window.’
- ‘Several of our guests thought that he was a hired commissionaire!’
- ‘The two troublemakers were eventually asked to leave by the manager and commissionaire, but not before visiting the cloakroom and then creating as much disturbance as possible on the way out.’
Mid 17th century: from French, from medieval Latin commissarius ‘person in charge’, from Latin committere ‘entrust’ (see commit).
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