One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The fact or occupation of being a publican or tax-gatherer; frequently in allusion to Luke 18:10–11, and contrasted with Pharisaism. In later use also (in form publicanism): the fact or occupation of being a publican or licensee.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in William Sclater. From publican + -ism.
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