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  1. a unit of local government, usually a subdivision of a county, found in most midwestern and northeastern states of the U.S. and in most Canadian provinces.
  2. (in U.S. surveys of public land) a region or district approximately 6 miles square (93.2 sq. km), containing 36 sections.
  3. English History.
    1. one of the local divisions or districts of a large parish, each containing a village or small town, usually with a church of its own.
    2. the manor, parish, etc., itself.
    3. its inhabitants.
  4. (in Australia)
    1. a small town or settlement serving as the business center of a rural area.
    2. the business center of a town or suburb.
  5. (in South Africa) a segregated residential settlement for blacks, located outside a city or town.
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Origin of township

before 900; Middle English tounship community, Old English tūnscipe village community. See town, -ship
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for township

sector, city, square, neighborhood, zone, locality, section, county, field, state, territory, township, town, metropolis, district, community, village, province, land, area

Examples from the Web for township

Contemporary Examples of township

Historical Examples of township

British Dictionary definitions for township


  1. a small town
  2. (in the Scottish Highlands and islands) a small crofting community
  3. (in the US and Canada) a territorial area, esp a subdivision of a county: often organized as a unit of local government
  4. (formerly, in South Africa) a planned urban settlement of Black Africans or Coloured peopleCompare location (def. 4)
  5. English history
    1. any of the local districts of a large parish, each division containing a village or small town
    2. the particular manor or parish itself as a territorial division
    3. the inhabitants of a township collectively
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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 township


Old English tunscipe "inhabitants or population of a town." Applied in Middle English to "manor, parish, or other division of a hundred." Specific sense of "local division or district in a parish, each with a village or small town and its own church" is from 1530s; as a local municipal division of a county in U.S. and Canada, first recorded 1685.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper