shire

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. [1913 Webster] An indefinite number of these hundreds make up a county or shire. --Blackstone. [1913 Webster] 2. A division of a State, embracing several contiguous townships; a county. [U. S.] [1913 Webster] 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. [1913 Webster] The Tyne, Tees, Humber, Wash, Yare, Stour, and Thames separate the counties of Northumberland, Durham, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, etc. --Encyc. Brit. [1913 Webster] {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. [1913 Webster]