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(n.) The keeper of an inn or public house; one licensed to retail beer, spirits, or wine.
(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.
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Webster, Noah. Entry for 'Publican'. Noah Webster's American Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/web/p/publican.html. 1828.