• Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Taotai In China, an official at the head of the civil and military affairs of a circuit, which consists of two or more fu, or territorial departments; -- called also, by foreigners, intendant of circuit. Foreign consuls and commissioners associated with taotais as superintendants of trade at the treaty ports are ranked with the taotai.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n taotai A high provincial officer in China, who has control over all civil and military affairs of a tao, or circuit, containing two or more fu, or departments, the officers of which are accountable to him. By foreigners he is usually styled intendant of circuit. In circuits containing a treaty port he is also superintendent of trade, and has as his associate a foreign commissioner of customs of the same rank. By treaty stipulation all foreign consuls rank with the tao-tai.
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Chin. tao, circuit + t'ai, a title of respect


In literature:

The chief man in the place when I was there was the Taotai, or governor, Kung, a brother, I have heard, of the Ambassador to England.
"Under the Dragon Flag" by James Allan
In Tali there are four chief officials: the Prefect or Fu Magistrate, the Hsien or City Magistrate, the Intendant or Taotai, and the Titai.
"An Australian in China" by George Ernest Morrison
He told us of Chung-tai, who was Taotai of our city at one time.
"My Lady of the Chinese Courtyard" by Elizabeth Cooper
The Taotai of Canton had the offender arrested.
"A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year" by Edwin Emerson
In 1859 he was transferred to the province of Fu-kien, where he was given the rank of taotai, or intendant of circuit.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 16, Slice 6" by Various