One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Usually in plural A deduction, specifically one formerly made from the pay of a British soldier, sailor, etc., and put into a special account made available by the government to the commanding officers of regiments to provide for the men's expenses and needs (as food, clothing, etc.). Hence also: the account or fund itself.
Mid 17th century. From off- + reckoning, perhaps after Dutch afrekening settlement, German Abrechnung deduction, reckoning, settlement.
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