In the United States counties are administrative subdivisions of a state.

There are 3,069 U.S. counties, which vary greatly in size and population. They range in area from 67 square kilometers (Arlington County, Virginia) to 227,559 square kilometers (North Slope Borough, Alaska). The population of counties varies from Loving County, Texas, with 140 residents to Los Angeles County, California, which is home to 9.1 million people.

Most states have counties, but there are some exceptions, these are the ones I know of:

  • Alaska has boroughs, which apparently don't do everything a county in the lower 48 would do.
  • Louisiana has parishes, which as far as I can tell do pretty much the same thing as counties in other states.

A small administrative district of a country; especially, a) the largest local administrative subdivision of most states of the United States b) any of the chief administrative districts into which England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Ireland are divided c) an administrative district in certain Canadian provinces d) an electoral district in rural New Zealand.

Coun"ty (koun"t?), n.; pl. Counties (-tz). [F. comt, fr. LL. comitatus. See Count.]


An earldom; the domain of a count or earl.



A circuit or particular portion of a state or kingdom, separated from the rest of the territory, for certain purposes in the administration of justice and public affairs; -- called also a shire. See Shire.

Every county, every town, every family, was in agitation. Macaulay.


A count; an earl or lord.



County commissioners. See Commissioner. -- County corporate, a city or town having the privilege to be a county by itself, and to be governed by its own sheriffs and other magistrates, irrespective of the officers of the county in which it is situated; as London, York, Bristol, etc. [Eng.] Mozley & W. -- County court, a court whose jurisdiction is limited to county. -- County palatine, a county distingushed by particular privileges; -- so called a palatio (from the palace), because the owner had originally royal powers, or the same powers, in the administration of justice, as the king had in his palace; but these powers are now abridged. The counties palatine, in England, are Lancaster, Chester, and Durham. -- County rates, rates levied upon the county, and collected by the boards of guardians, for the purpose of defraying the expenses to which counties are liable, such as repairing bridges, jails, etc. [Eng.] -- County seat, a county town. [U.S.] -- County sessions, the general quarter sessions of the peace for each county, held four times a year. [Eng.] -- County town, the town of a county, where the county business is transacted; a shire town.


© Webster 1913.

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