One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
In Spain and former Spanish dominions: a duty on the sale of goods, levied as a percentage of the pre-tax sale price; a sales tax.
Late 16th century; earliest use found in William Allen (1532–1594), cardinal. From Spanish alcabala from Arabic al-qabāla from al the + qabāla tax, duty from qabala to receive (something), to lease (land).
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