Pub"li*can (?), n. [L. publicanus: cf. F. publicain. See Public.]
1. Rom. Antiq.
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.
As Jesus at meat . . . many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.
Matt. 1x. 10.
How like a fawning publican he looks!
The keeper of an inn or public house; one licensed to retail beer, spirits, or wine.
© Webster 1913.