\ ˈshī(-ə)r How to pronounce shire (audio) , in place-​name compounds ˌshir, shər \

Definition of shire

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an administrative subdivision especially : a county in England
2 : any of an old breed of large heavy draft horses of British origin having heavily feathered legs


geographical name
Shi·​re | \ ˈshē-(ˌ)rā How to pronounce Shire (audio) , ˈshir-ē \

Definition of Shire (Entry 2 of 2)

river 250 miles (400 kilometers) long in southern Malawi and central Mozambique flowing from Lake Malawi south into the Zambezi River

Illustration of shire

Illustration of shire


shire 2

In the meaning defined above

Examples of shire in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The shire covers 68,000 square kilometers (26,000 square miles). Rod Mcguirk, ajc, 21 Oct. 2021 Abdul-Bey said prosecutors’ involvement in police-shooting cases has faced increased scrutiny since Little Rock resident Bradley Black-shire was fatally shot by officer Charles Starks on Feb. 22, 2019. Teresa Moss, Arkansas Online, 23 July 2021 Prince Charles came face to long face with Prince George on a day out in West Wales on Thursday — though this George wasn't the third in line to the throne, but instead a handsome shire horse who shares a name with Charles's 7-year-old grandson. Simon Perry,, 8 July 2021 The plant also reduces the distillery’s fuel oil demand by 15% by creating biogas and returning copper-rich fertilizer to the barley fields of Ross-shire. John Mariani, Forbes, 28 June 2021 From your grandparents watching telly in the deepest corners of the shire, to an agenda-setting chef religiously tuning in from central London each week, who couldn’t help but adore Nigella? Liam Hess, Vogue, 30 Apr. 2021 Vengeful Christians took possession of Jewish property and lands, acquiring their wealth and driving them from hearth and shire. Talia Lavin, The New Republic, 29 Sep. 2020 Within that is a wide array of sounds, from the happiness of the shire to the second film’s stunning battle to the arrival of Gollum. Troy L. Smith, cleveland, 6 Sep. 2020 The party has deep roots in the shires and has traditionally supported country pursuits. The Economist, 27 Feb. 2020

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

See More

First Known Use of shire


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for shire


Middle English, from Old English scīr office, shire; akin to Old High German scīra care

Learn More About shire

Time Traveler for shire

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near shire




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for shire

Cite this Entry

“Shire.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for shire



English Language Learners Definition of shire

: a county in England
: a type of tall, strong horse used for pulling heavy loads

More from Merriam-Webster on shire Encyclopedia article about shire


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!