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shire an administrative district in medieval times, consisting of a number of smaller districts (hundreds or wapentakes); the name comes from Old English scīr ‘care, official charge, county’.

Since the late 18th century, the Shires has been used in reference to parts of England regarded as strongholds of traditional rural culture, especially the rural Midlands.
shire horse a heavy powerful horse of a draught breed, originally from the English Midlands; the name is recorded from the late 19th century.

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shire †official charge; †district under a governor, bishop's see, etc.; administrative district later called county OE. (hence terminal element in names of counties XII). OE. sċīr = OHG. sċīra care, official charge; of uncert. orig.

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shires. See counties.

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