from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The largest administrative division of most states in the United States.
  • n. A territorial division exercising administrative, judicial, and political functions in Great Britain and Ireland.
  • n. The territory under the jurisdiction of a count or earl.
  • n. The people living in a county.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The land ruled by a count or a countess.
  • n. An administrative region of various countries, including Bhutan, Canada, China, Croatia, France, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Serbia and Montenegro and Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.
  • n. A definitive geographic region, without direct administrative functions, as in traditional county.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An earldom; the domain of a count or earl.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A count; an earl or lord.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Originally, the domain or territory of a count or earl.
  • n. Now, a definite division of a country or state for political or administrative purposes.
  • n. Collectively, the inhabitants of a county.
  • Of or pertaining to a county: as, county families; county society.
  • n. A count; an earl or lord.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (United States) the largest administrative district within a state
  • n. (United Kingdom) a region created by territorial division for the purpose of local government


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English counte, territorial division, from Old French conte, the territory of a count, from Medieval Latin comitātus, from Late Latin, the office of count, from Latin, retinue, from comes, comit-, companion; see ei- in Indo-European roots.


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  • If the county made a habit of shaking hands with chars, however could one know whom not to know? - ''Yashima, or, The Gorgeous West'' by R T Sherwood, 1931.

    (NB the definite article, meaning the landed gentry)

    December 24, 2008