What does Sheriff mean?

Definitions for Sheriff
ˈʃɛr ɪfsher·iff

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word Sheriff.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. sheriffnoun

    the principal law-enforcement officer in a county


  1. sheriffnoun

    excl. (High Sheriff) An official of a shire or county office, responsible for carrying out court orders and other duties.

  2. sheriffnoun

    A judge in the sheriff court, the court of a county or sheriffdom.

  3. sheriffnoun

    A police officer, usually the chief of police for a county or other district.

  4. Etymology: scīrġerēfa, corresponding to shire + reeve.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. SHERIFFnoun

    An officer to whom is intrusted in each county the execution of the laws.

    Etymology: scyregepefa , Saxon, from scyre , a shire, and reve , a steward.

    A great pow’r of English and of Scots
    Are by the sheriff of Yorkshire overthrown. William Shakespeare.

    Concerning ministers of justice, the high sheriffs of the counties have been very ancient in this kingdom. Francis Bacon.

    Now may’rs and shrieves all hush’d and satiate lay. Alexander Pope.


  1. Sheriff

    A sheriff is a government official, with varying duties, existing in some countries with historical ties to England where the office originated. There is an analogous, although independently developed, office in Iceland that is commonly translated to English as sherif.


  1. sheriff

    A sheriff is a government official, typically in a county or parish, responsible for keeping the peace and enforcing the law. Their duties usually include criminal investigations, traffic regulations, accident investigations, serving warrants and legal documents, preventive patrols, and maintaining jails. The specific responsibilities of a sheriff can vary widely depending on the region.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Sheriffnoun

    the chief officer of a shire or county, to whom is intrusted the execution of the laws, the serving of judicial writs and processes, and the preservation of the peace

  2. Etymology: [OE. shereve, AS. scr-gerfa; scr a shire + gerfa a reeve. See Shire, and Reeve, and cf. Shrievalty.]


  1. Sheriff

    In principle, a sheriff is a legal official with responsibility for a county. In practice, the specific combination of legal, political, and ceremonial duties of a sheriff varies greatly from country to country. The word "sheriff" is a contraction of the term "shire reeve". The term, from the Old English scīrgerefa, designated a royal official responsible for keeping the peace throughout a shire or county on behalf of the king. The term was preserved in England notwithstanding the Norman Conquest. From the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms the term spread to several other regions, at an early point to Scotland, latterly to Ireland, and to the United States. Sheriffs exist in various countries: ⁕Sheriffs are administrative legal officials similar to bailiffs in the Republic of Ireland, Australia, and Canada. ⁕Sheriffs are judges in Scotland. ⁕Sheriff is a ceremonial position in England, Wales, and India. ⁕In the United States of America, the scope of a sheriff varies across states and counties. The sheriff is most often a county official, and serves as the arm of the county court; but some cities, such as those in the Commonwealth of Virginia, also have a sheriff's office that serves as the arm of the city court and jail. The sheriff always performs court duties such as administering the county or city jail, providing courtroom security and prisoner transportation, serving warrants, and serving process. In urban areas a sheriff may be restricted to those duties. Many other sheriffs and their deputies may serve as the principal police force.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Sheriff

    sher′if, n. the governor of a shire: (English law) the chief officer of the crown in every county or shire, his duties being chiefly ministerial rather than judicial: (Scots law) the chief magistrate and judge of the county: in the United States the office of sheriff is mainly ministerial, his principal duties to maintain peace and order, attend courts, guard prisoners, serve processes, and execute judgments.—ns. Sher′iffalty, Sher′iffdom, Sher′iffship, the office or jurisdiction of a sheriff; Sher′iff-clerk, in Scotland the registrar of the sheriff's court, who has charge of the records of the court; Sher′iff-dep′ute (Scot.), the sheriff proper, so called since the abolition of the heritable jurisdictions in 1748 to distinguish him from the earlier heritable Sher′iff-prin′cipal, whose title is now merged in that of the Lord-lieutenant; Sher′iff-off′icer, in Scotland, an officer connected with the sheriff's court, who is charged with arrests, the serving of processes, &c.; Sher′iff-sub′stitute, the acting sheriff in a Scotch county or city, like the sheriff-depute appointed by the crown, but unlike the sheriff-depute forced to reside within his judicial district, and forbidden to take other employment; Un′der-sher′iff, the deputy of an English sheriff who performs the execution of writs. [A.S. scir-geréfascir (Eng. shire), geréfa, a governor; cog. with Ger. graf, a count.]

The Nuttall Encyclopedia

  1. Sheriff

    in England the chief officer of the Crown in every county, appointed annually, and intrusted with the execution of the laws and the maintenance of peace and order, with power to summon the posse commitatus. The office originated in Anglo-Saxon times, when it exercised wide judicial functions which have been gradually curtailed, and such duties as remain—the execution of writs, enforcement of legal decisions, &c., are mostly delegated to an under-sheriff (usually a lawyer) and bound-bailiffs, while the sheriff himself, generally a person of wealth (the office being unsalaried and compulsory, but not necessarily for more than one year) discharges merely honorary duties. In Scotland the sheriff, or sheriff-depute as he is called, is the chief judge of the county, and has under him one or more sheriffs-substitute, upon whom devolves the larger portion of the important and multifarious duties of his office. In America the sheriff is the chief administrative officer of the county, but exercises no judicial functions at all.

Suggested Resources

  1. sheriff

    Song lyrics by sheriff -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by sheriff on the Lyrics.com website.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records


    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Sheriff is ranked #7180 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Sheriff surname appeared 4,657 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 2 would have the surname Sheriff.

    60.7% or 2,830 total occurrences were White.
    29.5% or 1,377 total occurrences were Black.
    5.7% or 267 total occurrences were Asian.
    1.9% or 92 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    1.4% or 66 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    0.5% or 25 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.

Matched Categories

How to pronounce Sheriff?

How to say Sheriff in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of Sheriff in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of Sheriff in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Examples of Sheriff in a Sentence

  1. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez:

    First and foremost, on behalf of Harris County Sheriff Office I want to extend our condolences to the family of the deceased female and we are also praying for the full recovery of the two children that have been injured in this crash.

  2. Knox County:

    As the Sheriff of Knox County and a Veteran, I am honored to provide Mynatt Funeral Home with an escort as they transport Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss from Knoxville to the receiving funeral home in Alexandria. This young man deserves our honor, and respect as he sacrificed his life in service to our country, an escort is the least we can do to show our gratitude.

  3. Chief Deputy Jay Cantrell:

    They are able to refuse any medication they're offered. Even with the vaccine, it's all voluntary, i believe it's the county and the sheriff's constitutional duty to provide the detainees adequate and appropriate medical care.

  4. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez:

    On behalf of the Harris County Sheriff's Office, I want to extend our condolences to the family of the deceased female, and we're also praying for the full recovery of the two children that have been injured in this crash, as was mentioned, our deputy is said to be in stable condition and we're also praying that he makes a full recovery.

  5. Shepherd Schools Superintendent Claire Bunker:

    Sheriff Main is a great person and an asset to Isabella County, he is human and he made a mistake. He takes full responsibility for the incident. I’m extremely proud of the student who brought it to the attention of a staff member.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for Sheriff

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"Sheriff." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 15 Jun 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/Sheriff>.

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    (of especially persons) lacking sense or understanding or judgment
    A indiscernible
    B appellative
    C soft-witted
    D contiguous

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