from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A customs officer who boards incoming ships at a harbor.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A customs officer who oversees the landing of goods from merchant vessels in order to secure payment of duties.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A customhouse officer who watches the landing of goods from merchant vessels, in order to secure payment of duties.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. One of a class of custom-house officers whose business it is to await the arrival of ships, and to see that while in port the customs regulations as to the landing and shipping of goods are observed, and the revenue laws are not violated.
'tidewaiter'; and, as we know, the greatest poet of the day could only be rewarded by making him an exciseman.
Leaving the army, C. held for a time a commission in the mounted constabulary of Madras, and now he is a third class assistant tidewaiter in the Imperial Maritime Customs of China, with a salary as low as his spirits are high.
Down the river there is a tidewaiter who was formerly professor of French in the Imperial University of St. Petersburg; and here in Chungking, filling the same humble post, is the godson of a marquis and the nephew of an earl, a brave soldier whose father is a major-general and his mother an earl's daughter, and who is first cousin to that enlightened nobleman and legislator the Earl of C.
Madras, and now he is a third class assistant tidewaiter in the Imperial
It is true enough that a long course of corruption, beginning with the perjured peer and ending with the tidewaiter, had created a class of conditional loyalists, with nine-tenths of which the condition is always unfulfilled; while, in its very fulfilment, the other one-tenth has found but bitterness, the "sauce piquante" of their daily bread.
From the noblemen who held the white staff and the great seal, down to the humblest tidewaiter and gauger, what would now be called gross corruption was practiced without disguise and without reproach.