Definition for SHER'IF, or SHER'IFF

SHER'IF, or SHER'IFF, n. [Sax. scir-gerefa; scyre, scire, a shire or division, and gerefa, a reeve, a count, prefect, bailif, provost, or steward; G. graf, D. graaf. The second f has been improperly added to this word.]

An officer in each county, to whom is intrusted the execution of the laws. In England, sherifs are appointed by the king. In the United States, sherifs are elected by the legislature, or by the citizens, or appointed and commissioned by the executive of the state. The office of sherif in England is judicial and ministerial. In the United States it is mostly or wholly ministerial. The sherif, he 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.

Return to page 115 of the letter “S”.