Definition of sheriff in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈSHerəf/


1US (In the US) an elected officer in a county who is responsible for keeping the peace.
Example sentences
  • And the spokeswoman for the Broward County sheriffs office candidly stated that we did that because of the media hype.
  • In fact, he purchased a Florida home at that point for his wife and two children, then sought and was promised a job in a county sheriff's office.
  • So there are police officers, county sheriffs out there directing the traffic.
1.1 (also high sheriff) (In England and Wales) the chief executive officer of the Crown in a county, having various administrative and judicial functions.
Example sentences
  • In a letter the procurator fiscal raised no objection to this, but in court the Crown argued, and the sheriff accepted, that the motion was incompetent.
  • They argued that the later Privy Council decision R v HM Advocate had held that it was ultra vires for the procurator fiscal to bring proceedings before a temporary sheriff.
  • ‘Somebody's gonna have to pay for it one way or another,’ said the sheriff of King William County at the time.
1.2An honorary officer elected annually in some English towns.
1.3(In Scotland) a judge.
Example sentences
  • They numbered some of the most powerful people in Scotland - judges, sheriffs and senior lawyers used to putting their case eloquently and with force.
  • To make matters more complicated, ministers want to bring Scotland's judges and sheriffs under a single management structure, with a secretariat staffed by officials from the Scottish Executive.
  • Scotland's sheriffs and judges are already ranked among the most lenient in Europe.



Pronunciation: /-dəm/
Example sentences
  • In Scotland, where sheriffs were introduced in the 12th cent., they have been chief judges of sheriffdoms: and in those English towns taken out of county administration, sheriffs are elected urban officials responsible to the mayor.
  • He also levied two general taxes (the 13th of 1207 and the infamous 7th of 1203), introduced customs duties and reformed the system of farming out sheriffdoms to make it more profitable.
  • To finance this, he sold sheriffdoms and other offices.


Old English scīrgerēfa (see shire, reeve1).

Words that rhyme with sheriff


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: sher·iff

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.