n. pl. coun·ties
1. The largest administrative division of most states in the United States.
a. A territorial division exercising administrative, judicial, and political functions in Great Britain and Ireland.
b. The territory under the jurisdiction of a count or earl.
3. The people living in a county.
[Middle English counte, territorial division, from Old French conte, the territory of a count, from Medieval Latin comitātus, from Late Latin, the office of count, from Latin, retinue, from comes, comit-, companion; see ei- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus