From Middle English countee, counte, conte, from Anglo-Norman counté, Old French conté (French comté), from Latin comitātus (“jurisdiction of a count”), from comes (“count, earl”). Doublet of comitatus, borrowed directly from Latin.
county (plural counties)
- (historical) The land ruled by a count or a countess.
- An administrative region of various countries, including Bhutan, Canada, China, Croatia, France, Republic of Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Romania and Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.
- A definitive geographic region, without direct administrative functions.
- In American usage, counties are almost always designated as such, with the word "County" capitalized and following the name — e.g., "Lewis County", rarely "Lewis", and never "County Lewis".
- In British usage, counties are referenced without designation — e.g. "Kent" and never "Kent County". Exceptions are; Durham, which is often "County Durham" (but never "Durham County"); and the counties of Northern Ireland. An organisation such as Kent County Council is the "County Council" of "Kent" and not the "Council" of "Kent County".
- In Irish usage, counties are frequently referenced, but like Durham precede the name — e.g., "County Cork" or "Cork" and never "Cork County."
- In Canadian usage, counties are typically designated as such, with the word "County" capitalized and usually preceding the name — e.g., "the County of Two Hills". Occasionally, "County" follows the name, as in "Sturgeon County".
- German: County
- Characteristic of a ‘county family’; representative of the gentry or aristocracy of a county.
1886, Andrew Lang, The Mark of Cain:
- Now, in the district around Chipping Carby, the County Families are very County indeed, few more so.
- 1979, John Le Carré, Smiley's People, Folio Society 2010, p. 274:
- She was a tall girl and county, with Hilary's walk: she seemed to topple even when she sat.
2007, Heather Julien, Gender and Literacy in Britain, 1847--1987, ISBN 0549315918:
- The other two, like many of her characters, have fallen on harder times: Joan's family has recently lost her father, a small flour-mill owner -- described by a supporter as more "county" than the upstart newcomers who covet their property ...