See also: County

English

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A map showing counties of the Kingdom of Hungary (Hungary proper, Croatia and Slavonia), 1886–1918

Etymology

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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). Cognate with Spanish condado (county) and Italian contea (county). Doublet of comitatus, borrowed directly from Latin. Mostly displaced native Old English sċīr, whence Modern English shire.

Pronunciation

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Noun

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county (countable and uncountable, plural counties)

  1. An administrative or geographical region of various countries, including Bhutan, Canada, China, Croatia, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Romania, South Korea, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and 48 of the 50 United States (excluding Alaska and Louisiana).
  2. A definitive geographic region, without direct administrative functions.
    traditional county
  3. (US, slang, uncountable) A jail operated by a county government.
    He can't come; he's up in the county for agg assault.
  4. (historical) The land ruled by a count or a countess.

Usage notes

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  • In US 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". The one exception is Durham, which is often "County Durham" but never "Durham County". 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 designated as such, with the word "County" capitalised and preceding the name — e.g., "County Carlow".
  • 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".

Synonyms

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Derived terms

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Descendants

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  • German: County
  • Swahili: kaunti

Translations

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See also

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Adjective

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county (comparative more county, superlative most county)

  1. 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, published 2010, page 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:
      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 ...
    • 2015, Kate Macdonald, Novelists Against Social Change: Conservative Popular Fiction, 1920-1960, →ISBN:
      Susan Dean realises that her secretary, Eleanor Grantly, is much more county than she ever will be, because Eleanor knows all the Barsetshire family connections and is connected herself.