county

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See also: County

English[edit]

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

Etymology[edit]

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.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

county (plural counties)

  1. (historical) The land ruled by a count or a countess.
  2. 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.
  3. A definitive geographic region, without direct administrative functions.
    traditional county

Usage notes[edit]

  • 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".

Derived terms[edit]

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Descendants[edit]

Translations[edit]

Adjective[edit]

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 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 ...
    • 2015, Kate Macdonald, Novelists Against Social Change: Conservative Popular Fiction, 1920-1960, ISBN 1137457732:
      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.