sher·​iff | \ ˈsher-əf How to pronounce sheriff (audio) \

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 How to pronounce sheriffdom (audio) , -​təm \ noun

Examples of sheriff in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Torres claims he was fired soon after, with no explanation from the sheriff’s office. Fox News, "Christian deputy’s request to follow ‘Billy Graham Rule’ got him fired, he claims in lawsuit," 24 Aug. 2019 The sheriff’s office said the victim landed on a concrete pool deck and was pronounced dead at the scene. Leada Gore |, al, "Alabama woman dies after falling from Florida hotel balcony," 23 Aug. 2019 Witnesses told deputies that a silver Chevrolet sedan hit the motorcycle, then fled the scene, according to the sheriff’s office. Hillary Borrud | The Oregonian/oregonlive,, "Driver suspected of ramming couple on motorcycle in Aloha arrested, accused of attempted murder," 23 Aug. 2019 The sheriff’s office did not respond to a request for information about what happened to the dog. Tiffini Theisen,, "Woman stuffs starving dog in hot trunk after trying to have it euthanized, Brevard sheriff says," 23 Aug. 2019 The victim was able to call the mother of his children, who then called the sheriff’s office. Julian Gill, Houston Chronicle, "‘Right now my family is safe’: Man accused of fleeing after 2018 murder arrested in Houston-area kidnapping," 22 Aug. 2019 The school was placed on lockdown for several hours so that officers conduct a search inside the school, the sheriff’s office said. Kirk Mitchell, The Denver Post, "Adams County deputies declare school safe after investigating Safe2Tell tip," 21 Aug. 2019 The sheriff’s office posted the photo to its Facebook page on Monday in an attempt to identify him, and within a day, Bollas was arrested and charged, records show. Robin Goist,, "Man accused of sexually assaulting woman during concert at Blossom Music Center," 20 Aug. 2019 Cassidy, a Chicago Democrat, alleged she was pressured into resigning from her part-time job with the Cook County sheriff’s office. Ray Long,, "Report finds sexual harassment, inappropriate behavior and bullying widespread in Springfield; House Speaker Michael Madigan takes responsibility ‘for not doing enough’," 20 Aug. 2019

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

27 Aug 2019

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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.
British : 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 How to pronounce sheriff (audio) \

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).


to spread over or through

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