One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
In Spain, Portugal, and regions under their influence: the governor or commander of a fortress or fortified town; the warden of a prison.
Early 16th century; earliest use found in Richard Arnold (d. c1521), merchant and chronicler. From Spanish alcaide, † alcayde governor or commander of a fortress or fortified town, warden of a prison from Arabic al-qā'id from al the + qā'id leader from qāda to lead.
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