(2 syl.) originally meant an Escheator or officer of the king's exchequer appointed to receive dues and taxes. The present use of the word shows how these officers were wont to fleece the people. (See Catchpole).
Compare with escheator the New Testament word “Publicans,” or collectors of the Roman tax in Judæa, etc.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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