from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th 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.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. the landlord of a public house
- n. a tax collector in ancient Rome
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. 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.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In ancient Rome, one who farmed the public revenues; a tax-gatherer.
- 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.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- 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)