One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
In France and certain other European countries: a government department that controls an industry or service; specifically one with complete control of the importation, manufacture, and taxation of tobacco, salt, and other resources (now historical). Also: a government monopoly used as a means of taxation; especially the tobacco monopoly in the former Turkish Empire (now historical).
Late 18th century; earliest use found in Benjamin Latrobe (1764–1820), architect. From French régie government department that controls an industry or service, use as noun of past participle of régir to rule, govern from classical Latin regere to rule, govern.
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