9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[sher-if] /ˈʃɛr ɪf/
the law-enforcement officer of a county or other civil subdivision of a state.
(formerly) an important civil officer in an English shire.
Origin of sheriff
before 1050; Middle English sher(r)ef, Old English scīrgerēfa. See shire, reeve1
Related forms
[sher-if-duh m] /ˈʃɛr ɪf dəm/ (Show IPA),
subsheriff, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for sheriff
  • He who owes nothing fears not the sheriff's officer.
  • Clearly, the students and the sheriff don't have a problem with concealed carry being allowed on campus.
  • One was even saved from being shot by a local sheriff in a roundup of strays in small town.
  • And the sheriff has a thousand eyes, covering every inch of the sky.
  • And this role of sheriff is under appreciated but necessary.
  • The scene is a sheriff's office near a mountain lake, where a hunter and his dog have been found dead.
  • Every individual physiology and how the body will react are areas that will determine the basic health of an individual sheriff.
  • He took it across the street to a deputy sheriff's house.
  • There was reason to believe that the sheriff leaned toward the outlaws.
  • The pound of marijuana had been supplied by the local sheriff's department, as part of a sting.
British Dictionary definitions for sheriff


(in the US) the chief law-enforcement officer in a county: popularly elected, except in Rhode Island
(in England and Wales) the chief executive officer of the Crown in a county, having chiefly ceremonial duties related adjective shrieval
(in Scotland) a judge in any of the sheriff courts
(in Australia) an administrative officer of the Supreme Court, who enforces judgments and the execution of writs, empanels juries, etc
(in New Zealand) an officer of the High Court
Derived Forms
sheriffdom, noun
Word Origin
Old English scīrgerēfa, from scīrshire1 + gerēfareeve1
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 sheriff

late Old English scirgerefa "representative of royal authority in a shire," from scir (see shire) + gerefa "chief, official, reeve" (see reeve). As an American county official, attested from 1660s; sheriff's sale first recorded 1798. Sheriff's tooth (late 14c.) was a common name for the annual tax levied to pay for the sheriff's victuals during court sessions.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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