I’m not doing a great job about getting these up each Wednesday and Friday (having missed last week), but I think it’s getting better. Anyway, I don’t normally do consecutive words because if I ever hope to get through the letter A, much less the OED entirely, I can’t get bogged down. This needs to be an exception, however, since I didn’t even notice that this was the next word when I picked the last one. I’ve seen this word before since Gene Wolfe borrowed it for describing characters in his Book of the Long Sun series. (Which, if you haven’t read it, go get it from the library right now. It’s so very, very good.) Disappointingly they don’t use him as a citation.
Originally: (in Spain and Portugal) a magistrate or mayor of a town. In later use: (in the United States and parts of South America) an administrative officer of a town with the powers of a magistrate or a justice of the peace; the principal administrative person in an American mining camp (now hist.).