One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1In Russia: the head of a village community, typically elected, and having various judicial and administrative responsibilities.
2In the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth: a noble holding a domain bestowed by the monarch, and acting as royal representative and governor of that domain. Later also: a civil official appointed by the monarch to oversee a particular area.
Late 16th century; earliest use found in Giles Fletcher.
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