1 [koun-tee]
noun, plural counties.
the largest administrative division of a U.S. state: Miami, Florida, is in Dade County.
one of the chief administrative divisions of a country or state, as in Great Britain and Ireland.
one of the larger divisions for purposes of local administration, as in Canada and New Zealand.
the territory of a county, especially its rural areas: We farmed out in the county before moving to town.
the inhabitants of a county: It was supposed to be a secret, but you told the whole county.
the domain of a count or earl.

1250–1300; Middle English counte < Anglo-French counté, Old French cunté, conte < Late Latin comitātus imperial seat, office of a comes (see count2), equivalent to Latin comit-, stem of comes + -ātus -ate3 (or by reanalysis of Latin comitātus escort, retinue, orig. verbal noun of comitārī to accompany, derivative of comes Unabridged


2 [koun-tee]
noun Obsolete.

1540–50; < Anglo-French counte count2; -y by confusion with county1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
county (ˈkaʊntɪ)
n , pl -ties
1.  a.  any of the administrative or geographic subdivisions of certain states, esp any of the major units into which England and Wales are or have been divided for purposes of local government
 b.  (as modifier): county cricket
2.  (NZ) an electoral division in a rural area
3.  obsolete the lands under the jurisdiction of a count or earl
4.  informal (Brit) having the characteristics and habits of the inhabitants of country houses and estates, esp an upper-class accent and an interest in horses, dogs, etc
[C14: from Old French conté land belonging to a count, from Late Latin comitātus office of a count, from comescount²]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

late 13c., from Anglo-Norm. counte, from L.L. comitatus "jurisdiction of a count," from L. comes (see count (n.)); replaced O.E. scir "shire."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


internal territorial and administrative division in the United Kingdom, United States, and other English-speaking countries.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The legal landscape for gays and lesbians pursuing adoption varies considerably by state and even at times by county.
County chiefs remain at the mercy of their prefectural-level superiors, who retain a critical say in county appointments.
Only parts of each county are designated, depending on how far emissions from the industries travel.
The trial itself was a circus, largely a publicity stunt for the county.
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