One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
In Persia (now Iran) and India: a transit duty, a toll; (as a mass noun) tax paid to secure safe passage.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in William Foster (b. 1591), Church of England clergyman and writer. From Urdu rāhdārī and its etymon Persian rāhdārī transit-duty from rāhdār + -ī, suffix forming nouns.
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