- Chiefly British. a person who owns or manages a tavern; the keeper of a pub.
- Roman History. a person who collected public taxes.
- any collector of taxes, tolls, tribute, or the like.
Origin of publican
Examples from the Web for publican
The publican greeted the furniture dealer with a friendly nod.People of Position
Stanley Portal Hyatt
The publican, who carried a stick, was drunk, and the "knocker-up" was staggering on a crutch.
He was a publican, who lived in Brown's Square and had been a friend of the soldier Wilkes.
Pope Csar, the publican, in his chapel hat and white choker!The Manxman
He was denounced by priest and publican as a subverter of morals.Melomaniacs
- (in Britain) a person who keeps a public house
- (in ancient Rome) a public contractor, esp one who farmed the taxes of a province
Word Origin and History for publican
c.1200, "tax-gatherer," from Old French publician (12c.), from Latin publicanus "a tax collector," noun use of an adjective, "pertaining to public revenue," from publicum "public revenue," noun use of neuter of publicus (see public (adj.)). Original sense in Matt. xviii:17, etc.; meaning "keeper of a pub" first recorded 1728, from public (house) + -an.