noun \ˈsher-əf\

: an elected official who is in charge of enforcing the law in a county or town of the U.S.

: the highest official in a county or shire in England or Wales who represents the king or queen and who attends ceremonies and has legal duties

: the most important judge in a county or district in Scotland

Full Definition of SHERIFF

:  an important official of a shire or county charged primarily with judicial duties (as executing the processes and orders of courts and judges)
sher·iff·dom \-əf-dəm, -təm\ noun

Origin of SHERIFF

Middle English shirreve, from Old English scīrgerēfa, from scīr shire + gerēfa reeve — more at shire, reeve
First Known Use: before 12th century

Other Legal Terms

actionable, alienable, carceral, chattel, complicity, decedent, larceny, malfeasance, modus operandi

Rhymes with SHERIFF


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

In the U.S., the chief law-enforcement officer for the courts in a county. He is ordinarily elected, and he may appoint a deputy. The sheriff and his deputy have the power of police officers to enforce criminal law and may summon private citizens (the posse comitatus, or “force of the county”) to help maintain the peace. The main judicial duty of the sheriff is to execute processes and writs of the courts. Officers of this name also exist in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. In England the office of sheriff existed before the Norman Conquest (1066).


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