One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
In Persia, India, and the Ottoman Empire: a fine, a quit-rent, tribute; specifically a fine or present made to the ruling authority on receiving an appointment or an assignment of revenue.
Early 17th century. From Urdu pēškaš and its etymon early New Persian pēškaš (Persian piškiš) gift presented by an inferior to a superior, tribute from peš before, in front + kaš- (Persian kiš-) drawing, carrying forward. In form peshkesh via Turkish peşkeş.
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