From today's "A Word A Day"
publican (PUB-li-kuhn) noun
1. A tax collector.
2. An owner or manager of a pub or hotel.
[From Latin publicanus, from publicum (public revenue), from publicus
(public), from populus (people).]
In ancient Rome, the state farmed out the collection of taxes. The right to collect tax was auctioned off to the highest bidder. Tax collection agents, known as publicans, employed lower-level collectors who made best use of their license. For their severe extraction of taxes, publicans were widely despised. Now, if a publican is a tax collector, what is a republican?