SHIRE, n. In England, a division of territory, otherwise called a county. The shire was originally a division of the kingdom under the jurisdiction of an earl or count, whose authority was entrusted to the sherif. [shire-reeve.] On this officer the goverment ultimately devolved. In the United States, the corresponding division of a state is called a county, but we retain shire in the in the compound half-shire; as when the county court is held in two towns in the same county alternately, we call one of the divisions a half-shire. In some states, shire as the constituent part of the name of a county, as Berkshire, Hampshire, in Massachusetts. These being the names established by law, we cannot say, the county of Berkshire, and we cannot with propriety say, the caounty of Berks, for there is no county in Massa chusetts thus named.
nounEtymology: Middle English, from Old English sc?r office, shire; akin to Old High German sc?ra care Date: before 12th century 1. an administrative subdivision; especially a county in England 2. any of an old breed of large heavy draft horses of British origin having heavily feathered legs
n. Brit. 1 a county. 2 (the Shires) a a group of English counties with names ending or formerly ending in -shire, extending NE from Hampshire and Devon. b the midland counties of England. c the fox-hunting district of mainly Leicestershire and Northants. 3 Austral. a rural area with its own elected council. Phrases and idioms: shire-horse a heavy powerful type of draught-horse bred chiefly in the midland counties of England. Etymology: OE scir, OHG scira care, official charge: orig. unkn.
Shire Shire, n. [AS. sc[=i]re, sc[=i]r, a division, province, county. Cf. Sheriff.] 1. A portion of Great Britain originally under the supervision of an earl; a territorial division, usually identical with a county, but sometimes limited to a smaller district; as, Wiltshire, Yorkshire, Richmondshire, Hallamshire. An indefinite number of these hundreds make up a county or shire. --Blackstone. 2. A division of a State, embracing several contiguous townships; a county. [U. S.] Note: Shire is commonly added to the specific designation of a county as a part of its name; as, Yorkshire instead of York shire, or the shire of York; Berkshire instead of Berks shire. Such expressions as the county of Yorkshire, which in a strict sense are tautological, are used in England. In the United States the composite word is sometimes the only name of a county; as, Berkshire county, as it is called in Massachusetts, instead of Berks county, as in Pensylvania. The Tyne, Tees, Humber, Wash, Yare, Stour, and Thames separate the counties of Northumberland, Durham, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, etc. --Encyc. Brit. Knight of the shire. See under Knight. Shire clerk, an officer of a county court; also, an under sheriff. [Eng.] Shire mote (Old. Eng. Law), the county court; sheriff's turn, or court. [Obs.] --Cowell. --Blackstone. Shire reeve (Old Eng. Law), the reeve, or bailiff, of a shire; a sheriff. --Burrill. Shire town, the capital town of a county; a county town. Shire wick, a county; a shire. [Obs.] --Holland.
County Coun"ty (koun"t?), n.; pl. Counties (-t?z). [F. comt?, fr. LL. comitatus. See Count.] 1. An earldom; the domain of a count or earl. [Obs.] 2. A circuit or particular portion of a state or kingdom, separated from the rest of the territory, for certain purposes in the administration of justice and public affairs; -- called also a shire. See Shire. Every county, every town, every family, was in agitation. --Macaulay.
(shires) 1. The Shires or the shire counties are the counties of England that have a lot of countryside and farms. Smart country people are fleeing back to the shires.N-COUNT: usu the N in pl 2. A shire or shire horse is a large heavy horse used for pulling loads. (BRIT) N-COUNT