I'm looking for a word for the larger amount from which a salesman's commission might be calculated.

Something like sale price presupposes that his commission is calculated from that particular figure.

I have used principal before because it's a very similar concept to interest being calculated from the principal of a loan, but it's technically incorrect for this purpose.

I've considered dividend (i.e. dividend ÷ divisor = quotient) but this has other connotations

Whereas multiplicand (i.e. multiplicand × multiplier = product) is too obscure.

Anyone got a winner?

3 Answers 3


Consider base

a number that is multiplied by a rate or of which a percentage or fraction is calculated

Or possibly base amount.

  • This is a reasonable answer, although in this context I would expect base to refer to a base salary before commissions, rather than the multiplier for the commission percentage. Oct 29, 2013 at 23:54
  • It's for a variable in a computer program, so I've gone for CommissionBase.
    – Gaz
    Oct 30, 2013 at 8:52

Gross is undiminished by deduction; an entire amount as opposed to net (of commission e.g.)

  • Gross would be appropriate for somebody who earns a percentage of gross sales revenue, but some commission agreements are based on other figures. Oct 30, 2013 at 0:04

The most general term I have seen for the base value of commissions, tips, and related compensation is sales. Depending on the details of the compensation agreement, a more specific term like gross, net, profit, receipts, or revenue may be used, especially if you need to distinguish between two different methods. For example, you might generally refer to a percentage of sales, but differentiate between two people who earn a percentage of gross versus net or a percentage of revenue versus profit.

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