sher·iff | \ˈsher-əf \

Definition of sheriff 

: an important official of a shire or county charged primarily with judicial duties (such as executing the processes and orders of courts and judges)

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Other Words from sheriff

sheriffdom \ˈsher-əf-dəm, -təm \ noun

Examples of sheriff in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Sheriff's patrol deputies responded to the homeowner's call, as did a Sacramento County sheriff's helicopter, which landed on scene. Jordan Cutler-tietjen, sacbee, "Hammer assault during home construction project leaves man in critical condition," 9 July 2018 Alcohol is not a factor in the incident, sheriff's officials said. Detroit Free Press Staff, Detroit Free Press, "11 rescued after heavily overweight boat capsizes on Pine Lake," 5 July 2018 Top sheriff's officials also refused to take responsibility for mishandling the whistleblowing complaint, according to the report obtained Tuesday by The Oregonian/OregonLive after a public records request. Noelle Crombie,, "Sheriff's Office repeatedly ignored detective who bungled sex crime cases: audit," 12 June 2018 Pat Gengler said sheriff's deputies responded at 11:20 p.m. on a report of a call to assist the Maple Park Fire Department with a victim trapped in a vehicle on the track. Linda Girardi, Aurora Beacon-News, "Morton Grove race car driver killed in Sycamore Speedway crash," 14 July 2018 Orange County sheriff's deputies were searching overnight for a suspect who seriously injured a 26-year-old man’s eyes by throwing an unknown substance in his face about 10:45 p.m. Tuesday in south Apopka, a spokesman said. Stephen Hudak,, "Apopka assault involves 'unknown substance' thrown in man's face, eyes, deputies say," 13 June 2018 Current Time 0:00 / Duration 2:13 Baby found dead on Cochran Avenue in east Macon Advertisement The Bibb County sheriff’s office responded Thursday, May 24, 2018, to a report of an unresponsive infant at 1113 Cochran Avenue. Crystal Hill, miamiherald, "Dad smothered screaming infant daughter — then tried to shock her back to life, Ark. police say," 12 July 2018 Romero said that all Lemon Grove departments — with the exception of the sheriff’s department and animal control, which are handled by San Diego County departments — cut their budget between 4 percent and 14 percent this year. Karen Pearlman,, "Lemon Grove still considering two taxes for November ballot," 10 July 2018 After nearly four tense hours, around 2:30 a.m., Dripps fired at authorities again, striking three officers — one from Geneva police, one from Hanover Park police and one from the Kane County sheriff’s department. Janelle Walker, Elgin Courier-News, "Family of man who shot 3 officers in South Elgin standoff says he was distraught with health, financial woes," 10 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sheriff.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of sheriff

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sheriff

Middle English shirreve, from Old English scīrgerēfa, from scīr shire + gerēfa reeve — more at shire, reeve

Old English scīrgerēfa, from scīr shire + gerēfa reeve (king's agent)

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Phrases Related to sheriff

High Sheriff

Statistics for sheriff

Last Updated

8 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for sheriff

The first known use of sheriff was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for sheriff



English Language Learners Definition of sheriff

: 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


sher·iff | \ˈsher-əf \

Kids Definition of sheriff

: the officer of a county who is in charge of enforcing the law



Legal Definition of sheriff 

: an official of a county or parish charged primarily with judicial duties (as executing the processes and orders of courts and judges)

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Comments on sheriff

What made you want to look up sheriff? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

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