AskDefine | Define commissionaire

Dictionary Definition

commissionaire n : a uniformed doorman

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A uniformed doorman

Extensive Definition


In mainland Europe, a commissionaire is an attendant, messenger or subordinate employed in hotels, whose chief duty is to attend at railway stations, secure customers, take charge of their luggage, carry out the necessary formalities with respect to it and have it sent on to the hotel. They are also employed in Paris as street messengers, light porters, etc.
In the UK and some former Commonwealth countries, a Commissionaire is an employee of the Corps of Commissionaires, a company founded in 1859 by Captain Sir Edward Walter, K.C.B. (1823-1904) to provide employment for former members of the armed services. Members of the Corps are often used as trained security guards in major companies and other organizations. The Commissionaires main role is the protection of People, Property and Information. You will find a Commissionaire in almost every Federal establishment across Canada guarding everything from Museum pieces to live ammunition and government files.


In mainland European jurisdictions, a person who acts in their own name for the account of a principal. The principal is contractually bound to deliver (through the commissionaire) the goods sold to the customer; the commissionaire is contractually bound to the principal to remit the price received to the principal. No relationship is created between the customer and the principal. The commissionaire is remunerated by commission, and paid by the principal. This relationship is similar to that of an agent for an undisclosed principal in the UK.
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