In principle, a sheriff is a legal official with responsibility for a county. In practice, the specific combination of legal, political, and ceremonial duties of a sheriff varies greatly from country to country.
The word "sheriff" is a contraction of the term "shire reeve". The term, from the Old English scīrgerefa, designated a royal official responsible for keeping the peace (a "reeve") throughout a shire or county on behalf of the king. The term was preserved in England notwithstanding the Norman Conquest. From the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms the term spread to several other regions, at an early point to Scotland, latterly to Ireland, and to the United States.
Sheriffs exist in various countries:
Sheriffs are administrative legal officials similar to bailiffs in the Republic of Ireland, Australia, and Canada (with expanded duties in certain provinces).
Sheriffs are judges in Scotland.
Sheriff is a ceremonial position in England, Wales
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