Definition of shire in US English:



  • 1A county, especially in England.

    • ‘What is lacking, however, is a map of all the counties and shires across the archipelago, given the number of references to them in Smith's narrative.’
    • ‘From the battlements, she can look over a bend in the River Thames, across the treetops to Eton College and out over farms, villages and shires of Berks and Bucks.’
    • ‘At first, they thought of moving out into one of the shires.’
    • ‘"This has been interpreted as a precursor to the demise of the three shire counties.’
    • ‘Labour will represent the rural shires and the Conservatives can try Sheffield.’
    • ‘In three out of ten questions asked, Wiltshire was top of all shire counties in England.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, he's enjoying the English shires - Essex and Leicester.’
    • ‘Sessions of the shire court were held under the jurisdiction of the Commissioners for each circuit.’
    • ‘I'm looking forward to the conference tomorrow, mainly for a chance to hear from more people from the surrounding Shires.’
    • ‘Plans to revive traditional shire county names has received a favourable response in Westmorland.’
    • ‘The English shires will disappear and another bit of our heritage will be lost.’
    province, territory, administrative unit, sector, department, state
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1the Shires Used in reference to parts of England regarded as strongholds of traditional rural culture, especially the rural Midlands.
      • ‘Middle England still exists, life goes on in the shires as it has for many centuries, people still work hard, toil the land and protect the countryside.’
      • ‘But my favourite adjective here is ‘all-night’ - in the shires, you see, people sometimes get home from a party before midnight.’
      • ‘We have a lot of buildings that were built over 100 years ago and cannot compare with the leafy shires.’
      • ‘To have the tally-hoes of the English shires coming in droves to Ireland's hunting counties would severely disrupt the relationship between the hunts and the landowners.’
      • ‘The shires are up in arms, with many staging a campaign of passive resistance, only prepared to pay reasonable inflation-linked increases to their bills.’
      • ‘But this is what took place two years ago in the heartland of England's shires.’
      • ‘But no matter what the perspective - from shocked reader from the shires to shrill debunker from the radical left - no one ever seems to say exactly what it is they're objecting to.’
      • ‘Our fellow guests, two couples from the Shires, join us and soon the house party is in full swing.’
      • ‘True, you will have to charm the decrepit blimps and blue rinses from the shires into voting for you.’
      • ‘In the bar you might find yourself standing next to a TV personality, a Bristol barrister, an Italian actress or land-owning couple from the shires.’
      • ‘Unlike the Tories who are a regional party of the English shires, we can truly say we speak for the wider community in Britain.’
      • ‘Working, as I do, in the Shires, there are going to be patients who have strong religious views, and think ‘this is of the devil’ or whatever.’
      • ‘I thought something similar happened with the Irish and the Welsh too, denied the prosperity of the ‘leafy shires of the south of England’.’
      • ‘Its average member is 65 years old - mainly wealthy retirees concentrated in the rural Shires.’
      • ‘It looks like it's been written by a teenage girl from the shires.’
      • ‘Chaps who came double-barrelled in girth as well as surname, their powerbases were in the shires and they had had a good war.’
      • ‘There's even a polite cheer from the family from the shires who are sitting directly behind us in the stalls.’


Old English scīr ‘care, official charge, county’, of Germanic origin.