a county of S England, on the English Channel: crossed by the Hampshire Downs and the South Downs, with the New Forest in the southwest and many prehistoric and Roman remains: the geographical and ceremonial county includes Portsmouth and Southampton, which became independent unitary authorities in 1997. Administrative centre: Winchester. Pop (excluding unitary authorities): 1 251 000 (2003 est). Area (excluding unitary authorities): 3679 sq km (1420 sq miles) Hants
Sir Stuart. 1914–2004, British philosopher: his publications include Thought and Action (1959), Two Theories of Morality (1977), and Innocence and Experience (1989)
reduced from Old English Hamtunscir; named for the city of Southampton, which originally was simply Hamtun. Norman scribes mangled the county name to Hauntunescire, later Hantescire, hence the abbrev. Hants.