One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1British A person who owns or manages a pub.
- ‘This event was organised by the publicans from four local inns and each provided entertainment.’
- ‘People we have recently helped include a single parent with credit card debts and a publican whose business recently collapsed.’
- ‘The Licensed Vintners Association, which represents Dublin publicans, refused to comment.’
- ‘Norway outlawed smoking in bars and restaurants last June to an outcry from publicans who predicted serious trade shortfalls.’
- ‘Food was not high on your average publican's agenda, nor was it high priority for his customers.’
- ‘Guinness is also offering publicans one free keg of Cashel's for every five purchased - a normal offer in the industry - as part of its marketing drive.’
- ‘A bitter row could be brewing as anxious publicans face sweeping changes to the licensing system.’
- ‘With the party season approaching, publicans, hoteliers and restaurateurs are anxious to win back custom from locals and tourists by softening the area's rowdy image.’
- ‘A group of publicans in the town are today applying for an extension of their licences to allow them to open until 2am.’
- ‘Police officers, hoteliers, shopkeepers and publicans are also among those asked to brush up on their knowledge of Scotland's most famous poet.’
- ‘The drinks industry and publicans have made a guarded response to the moves, insisting they already support the drive to encourage more responsible drinking.’
- ‘The Royal Oak, in Goodramgate, York, is expected to slash its energy consumption by ten per cent in the next year after the publicans vowed to play their part in the scheme.’
- ‘The Irish Hospitality Industry Alliance, an umbrella group made up of publicans opposed to the ban, says many family-run pubs in the south won't be in business this time next year.’
- ‘Principally publicans and restaurateurs, who believe that their livelihood is directly threatened.’
- ‘The Government is currently consulting on the proposed fees that publicans and event organisers would have to pay to allow public entertainment to take place and to sell alcohol.’
- ‘Outwardly he was a successful publican, but in reality, the business was falling apart and debts for beer were piling up.’
- ‘Aberdeen publicans have successfully challenged an attempt by the city's licensing board to impose a minimum price tariff as a condition of granting or renewing public house licences or regular extensions of hours.’
- ‘They were things put in because of pressure from publicans, who felt the special restaurant licence was going to be a back door into the pub game.’
- ‘It is right that restaurateurs and publicans must be free to choose a policy on smoking that best suits their business.’
- ‘A meeting was held on Wednesday to discuss plans to enlist the support of publicans and night club bosses to make late-night Bedford a safer place.’
2(in ancient Roman and biblical times) a collector of taxes.
- ‘He is the same as He was when He received Mary Magdalene - called Matthew the publican - brought Zacchaeus down from the tree, and made them examples of what His grace could do.’
- ‘Their converts included even the ‘harlots and publicans and thieves’ addressed in one of the famous hymns by Wesley's brother Charles and prominent among the convict settlers of Australia.’
- ‘Friend of publicans and sinners, you make the angels laugh and heaven rejoice.’
- ‘No wonder Jesus preferred the prayer of the publican.’
- ‘Obviously, Paul is talking about sinners if they are not saved while Jesus is talking about those publicans and harlots that believed in him.’
Middle English (in publican (sense 2)): from Old French publicain, from Latin publicanus, from publicum ‘public revenue’, neuter (used as a noun) of publicus ‘of the people’. publican (sense 1) dates from the early 18th century.
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