1 a fund of cash from which a department or other unit pays incidental expenses, topped up periodically from central funds
2 (Chiefly Brit) an advance from government funds for the performance of some public business or service
3 (Brit) (formerly) an advance payment of wages to a sailor or soldier
(C16: probably from Italian imprestare to lend, from Latin in- towards + praestare to pay, from praesto at hand; see presto)
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