One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
In German-speaking contexts: (a title for) a captain in a cavalry regiment; = Rittmaster.
Early 19th century. From German Rittmeister from Ritt act of riding, ride, formerly also ‘unit of cavalry’ + Meister, perhaps after Middle Low German ritmēster, ritmeister or the similarly-formed Middle Dutch ritmeester, attested earliest in an area bordering Germany (Dutch ritmeester).
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