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[koun-tee] /ˈkaʊn ti/
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


[koun-tee] /ˈkaʊn ti/
noun, Obsolete
count2 .
1540-50; < Anglo-French counte count2; -y by confusion with county1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for counties
  • Nationally, there are more deaths than births in one of two rural counties.
  • Their home-made tartar sauce and fried catfish bring people from counties around.
  • There were many such establishments in the northern counties.
  • People travel between counties the way they used to travel between neighborhoods.
  • Information spied online is collected in counties and major cities and matched up with other surveillance data.
  • The information is as granular as individual counties and, for some cities, even zip codes.
  • Unfortunately, much of the political power in the state resides in coal producing counties tied to coal revenue.
  • People travel between counties the way they used to travel between neighborhoods.
  • It's cool that you can see a shift in happy feelings in counties that have their weekend on different days.
  • She had a big funeral and she was laid out in her wedding dress in a white casket surrounded by every carnation in four counties.
British Dictionary definitions for counties


noun (pl) -ties
  1. 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
  2. (as modifier): county cricket
(NZ) an electoral division in a rural area
(obsolete) the lands under the jurisdiction of a count or earl
(Brit, informal) 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
Word Origin
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 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for counties



c.1300, from Anglo-French counte, from Late Latin comitatus "jurisdiction of a count," from Latin comes (see count (n.)); replaced Old English scir "shire."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for counties


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

Learn more about county with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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