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

According to one sheriff's office, though, The Weather Channel personality's presence in the area is not welcome. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "The Weather Channel's Jim Cantore 'Banned' From One Florida County Ahead of Hurricane Michael," 9 Oct. 2018 The sheriff brought him pizza and an honorary badge and asked him to walk with him in the Winter Wonderland parade. Jonathan Small, Good Housekeeping, ""Lord, Just Bring This Baby Back to Life": How a Brave 9-Year-Old Saved a Toddler from Drowning," 16 July 2018 The sheriff’s Railroad Enforcement Unit was investigating the crash. Alex Riggins,, "Pedestrian struck, injured by train in Encinitas," 13 July 2018 This crash is also being investigated by the sheriff’s crash investigations unit. Jim Newton, Lake County News-Sun, "Man dies in Antioch Township crash Friday; second motorcycle death in Lake County this week," 13 July 2018 First came a pardon for Joe Arpaio, the former Arizona sheriff convicted of criminal contempt, whose case had been promoted by the right-wing radio host Alex Jones. Campbell Robertson, New York Times, "Pardon Seekers Have a New Strategy in the Trump Era: ‘It’s Who You Know’," 12 July 2018 Members of the community resented press from northern states coming down to cover the issue — especially black journalists, who were relegated to a card table in the courtroom and berated by the local sheriff. Gabby Raymond, Time, "The Justice Department Has Reopened Its Investigation of Emmett Till's Murder. Here Are 5 Things to Know About the Case," 12 July 2018 All were killed in late March when one of their adoptive mothers, Jennifer Hart, drove an SUV over a cliff near Mendocino, California, and plunged into the Pacific Ocean 100 feet below - an act the local sheriff called intentional. Joe Heim And Julie Tate, Houston Chronicle, "As Hart children begged for help, system failed them," 12 July 2018 The biggest cost categories would be $153 million for county roads, bridges and sidewalks; $44 million for parks and recreation; and $26.5 million for the sheriff’s office and fire department. David Ibata, ajc, "Forsyth to seek voter OK for $274M SPLOST," 11 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

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Statistics for sheriff

Last Updated

3 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

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)

History and Etymology for sheriff

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on sheriff

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sheriff

Spanish Central: Translation of sheriff

Nglish: Translation of sheriff for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about sheriff

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).


a nest or breeding place

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