[shahyuh r]
See more synonyms for shire on
  1. one of the counties of Great Britain.
  2. the Shires, the counties in the Midlands in which hunting is especially popular.

Origin of shire

before 900; Middle English; Old English scīr office of administration, jurisdiction of such an office, county
Related formssub·shire, nounun·der·shire, noun


[shahyuh r]
  1. one of an English breed of large, strong draft horses having a usually brown or bay coat with white markings.

Origin of Shire

1875–80; apparently so called because it was bred in the shires, i.e., those counties of west and central England whose names end in -shire


  1. a river in SE Africa, flowing S from Lake Malawi to the Zambezi River. 370 miles (596 km) long. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for shire

Contemporary Examples of shire

Historical Examples of shire

British Dictionary definitions for shire


    1. one of the British counties
    2. (in combination)Yorkshire
  1. (in Australia) a rural district having its own local council
  2. See shire horse
  3. the Midland counties of England, esp Northamptonshire and Leicestershire, famous for hunting, etc

Word Origin for shire

Old English scīr office; related to Old High German scīra business


  1. (tr) Ulster dialect to refresh or restlet me get my head shired

Word Origin for shire

from Old English scīr clear



  1. a river in E central Africa, flowing from Lake Malawi through Malawi and Mozambique to the Zambezi. Length: 596 km (370 miles)
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

Word Origin and History for shire

Old English scir "administrative office, jurisdiction, stewardship, authority," also in particular use "district, province, country," from Proto-Germanic *skizo (cf. Old High German scira "care, official charge"). Ousted since 14c. by Anglo-French county. The gentrified sense is from The Shires (1796), used by people in other parts of England of those counties that end in -shire; sense transferred to "hunting country of the Midlands" (1860).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper