(?), n. [AS. scre, scr, 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.
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An indefinite number of these hundreds make up a county or shire.
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2. A division of a State, embracing several contiguous townships; a county. [U. S.]
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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.
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The Tyne, Tees, Humber, Wash, Yare, Stour, and Thames separate the counties of Northumberland, Durham, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, etc.
Encyc. Brit.
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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.
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