, AS. scīr-gerfa
a shire + gerfa
a reeve. See Shire, and Reeve
, and cf. Shrievalty
The chief officer of a shire or county, to whom is intrusted the execution of the laws, the serving of judicial writs and processes, and the preservation of the peace. [1913 Webster
" In England, sheriffs are appointed by the king. In the United States, sheriffs are elected by the legislature or by the citizens, or appointed and commissioned by the executive of the State. The office of sheriff in England is judicial and ministerial. In the United States, it is mainly ministerial. The sheriff, by himself or his deputies, executes civil and criminal process throughout the county, has charge of the jail and prisoners, attends courts, and keeps the peace. His judicial authority is generally confined to ascertaining damages on writs of inquiry and the like. Sheriff, in Scotland, called sheriff depute, is properly a judge, having also certain ministerial powers. Sheriff clerk is the clerk of the Sheriff's Court in Scotland. Sheriff's Court in London is a tribunal having cognizance of certain personal actions in that city." Wharton, Tomlins. Erskine.
1 Brit. a (also High Sheriff) the chief executive officer of the Crown in a county, administering justice etc. b an honorary officer elected annually in some towns.
2 US an elected officer in a county, responsible for keeping the peace.
sheriff court Sc. a county court. sheriff-depute Sc. the chief judge of a county or district.
sheriffalty n. (pl. -ies). sheriffdom n. sheriffhood n. sheriffship n.
OE scir-gerefa (as SHIRE, REEVE(1))
n. In America the chief executive office of a country, whose
most characteristic duties, in some of the Western and Southern
States, are the catching and hanging of rogues.
John Elmer Pettibone Cajee
(I write of him with little glee)
Was just as bad as he could be.
'Twas frequently remarked: "I swon!
The sun has never looked upon
So bad a man as Neighbor John."
A sinner through and through, he had
This added fault: it made him mad
To know another man was bad.
In such a case he thought it right
To rise at any hour of night
And quench that wicked person's light.
Despite the town's entreaties, he
Would hale him to the nearest tree
And leave him swinging wide and free.
Or sometimes, if the humor came,
A luckless wight's reluctant frame
Was given to the cheerful flame.
While it was turning nice and brown,
All unconcerned John met the frown
Of that austere and righteous town.
"How sad," his neighbors said, "that he
So scornful of the law should be --
An anar c, h, i, s, t."
(That is the way that they preferred
To utter the abhorrent word,
So strong the aversion that it stirred.)
"Resolved," they said, continuing,
"That Badman John must cease this thing
Of having his unlawful fling.
"Now, by these sacred relics" -- here
Each man had out a souvenir
Got at a lynching yesteryear --
"By these we swear he shall forsake
His ways, nor cause our hearts to ache
By sins of rope and torch and stake.
"We'll tie his red right hand until
He'll have small freedom to fulfil
The mandates of his lawless will."
So, in convention then and there,
They named him Sheriff. The affair
Was opened, it is said, with prayer.
J. Milton Sloluck
G-man, MP, bailiff, beadle, beagle, bound bailiff, captain, catchpole, chief of police, commissioner, constable, deputy, deputy sheriff
, detective, fed, federal, flic, gendarme, government man, inspector, lictor, lieutenant, mace-bearer, marshal, mounted policeman, narc, officer, patrolman, peace officer, police captain, police commissioner, police constable, police inspector, police matron, police officer, police sergeant, policeman, policewoman, portreeve, reeve, roundsman, sergeant, sergeant at arms, superintendent, tipstaff, tipstaves, trooper
jurisdiction, judicature, administration of justice, soc, executive, commission of the peace, magistracy, judge, tribunal, municipality, corporation, bailiwick, shrievalty, lord lieutenant, sheriff
, shire reeve, shrieve, constable, selectman, police, police force, the fuzz, constabulary, bumbledom, gendarmerie, officer, bailiff, tipstaff, bum-bailiff, catchpoll, beadle, policeman, cop, police constable, police sergeant, sbirro, alguazil, gendarme, kavass, lictor, mace bearer, huissier, bedel, tithingman, press gang, exciseman, gauger, gager, customhouse officer, douanier, coroner, edile, aedile, portreeve, paritor, posse comitatus, bureau, cutcherry, department, secretariat, long arm of the law, extradition, executive, administrative, municipal, inquisitorial, causidical, judicatory, judiciary, judicial, juridical, coram judice.
Also see definition of "sheriff
" in Bible Study Dictionaries