[ sher-if ]
See synonyms for sheriff on
  1. the law-enforcement officer of a county or other civil subdivision of a state.

  2. (formerly) an important civil officer in an English shire.

Origin of sheriff

before 1050; Middle English sher(r)ef,Old English scīrgerēfa.See shire, reeve1

Other words from sheriff

  • sher·iff·dom [sher-if-duhm], /ˈʃɛr ɪf dəm/, noun
  • sub·sher·iff, noun

Words Nearby sheriff Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use sheriff in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for sheriff


/ (ˈʃɛrɪf) /

  1. (in the US) the chief law-enforcement officer in a county: popularly elected, except in Rhode Island

  2. (in England and Wales) the chief executive officer of the Crown in a county, having chiefly ceremonial duties: Related adjective: shrieval

  1. (in Scotland) a judge in any of the sheriff courts

  2. (in Australia) an administrative officer of the Supreme Court, who enforces judgments and the execution of writs, empanels juries, etc

  3. (in New Zealand) an officer of the High Court

Origin of sheriff

Old English scīrgerēfa, from scīr shire 1 + gerēfa reeve 1

Derived forms of sheriff

  • sheriffdom, noun

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012