American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Chiefly British The keeper of a public house or tavern.
- n. A collector of public taxes or tolls in the ancient Roman Empire.
- n. A collector of taxes or tribute from the public.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In ancient Rome, one who farmed the public revenues; a tax-gatherer. On account of their oppressive exactions, especially in the conquered provinces, the publicans were commonly regarded with detestation.
- n. Hence Any collector of toll, tribute, customs, or the like.
- n. The keeper of a public house or other such place of entertainment. In law, under the term publicans are included innkeepers, hotel-keepers, keepers of ale-houses, wine-vaults, etc.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Rom. Antiq.) A farmer of the taxes and public revenues; hence, a collector of toll or tribute. The inferior officers of this class were often oppressive in their exactions, and were regarded with great detestation.
- n. The keeper of an inn or public house; one licensed to retail beer, spirits, or wine.
- n. the keeper of a public house
- Middle English, tax collector, from Old French, from Latin pūblicānus, from pūblicum, public revenue, from neuter of pūblicus, public; see public. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“I desired him: to prepare himself for a happier life, to acknowledge that he was a sinner, and to repent of his faults: and, happening to mention the publican, who acknowledged that he was a sinner, and asked God's mercy; he answered, '_I am that publican_.”
“Nothing could further emphasize the sympathy of Jesus than his calling a publican to be his close companion and friend.”
“Feeling bound to the monk by the service he had already done him, Brotteaux stepped up to him and made himself known as the publican who had stood beside him among the common herd, one day of great scarcity, and asked him if he could not be of some use to him.”
“January 11th, 2010 at 1: 01 pm tombaker says: unless you’re an OK resident, there’s really not much to be done about him, other than press the National Committee to cut his funding or find a better candidate down there. in any event, handing his seat back to some cRo-publican is never going to amount to a good idea.”
“We do not see that, moreover, idealizing the category of prostitute, we also idealize that of publican, which is a category that always accompanies it in the Gospel.”
“Very understandably, because a publican was a kind of Quisling, he was held in contempt by his fellow men; yet he knew at the same time that he had the power and legal authority of the Roman government behind him.”
“Saint Matthew, one of the twelve Apostles, who from being a publican, that is, a taxgatherer, was called by our Saviour to the Apostleship: in that profession his name is Levi.”
“Their publican is the druggist, where they buy opium for themselves and Godfrey's cordial, a preparation from laudanum, for their children.”
“Irishman is a knowing scoundrel, the publican is a trifle more knowledgable than the customer, whose brains are besodden.”
“If they gave tick, they would never recover the money, and if every Irishman is a knowing scoundrel, the publican is a trifle more knowledgable than the customer, whose brains are besodden.”
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