knight of the shire

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Shire \Shire\, n. [AS. sc[imac]re, sc[imac]r, a division,
   province, county. Cf. Sheriff.]
   1. A portion of Great Britain originally under the
      supervision of an earl; a territorial division, usually
      identical with a county, but sometimes limited to a
      smaller district; as, Wiltshire, Yorkshire, Richmondshire,
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            An indefinite number of these hundreds make up a
            county or shire.                      --Blackstone.
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   2. A division of a State, embracing several contiguous
      townships; a county. [U. S.]
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   Note: Shire is commonly added to the specific designation of
         a county as a part of its name; as, Yorkshire instead
         of York shire, or the shire of York; Berkshire instead
         of Berks shire. Such expressions as the county of
         Yorkshire, which in a strict sense are tautological,
         are used in England. In the United States the composite
         word is sometimes the only name of a county; as,
         Berkshire county, as it is called in Massachusetts,
         instead of Berks county, as in Pensylvania.
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               The Tyne, Tees, Humber, Wash, Yare, Stour, and
               Thames separate the counties of Northumberland,
               Durham, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, etc. --Encyc.
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   Knight of the shire. See under Knight.

   Shire clerk, an officer of a county court; also, an under
      sheriff. [Eng.]

   Shire mote (Old. Eng. Law), the county court; sheriff's
      turn, or court. [Obs.] --Cowell. --Blackstone.

   Shire reeve (Old Eng. Law), the reeve, or bailiff, of a
      shire; a sheriff. --Burrill.

   Shire town, the capital town of a county; a county town.

   Shire wick, a county; a shire. [Obs.] --Holland.
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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Knight \Knight\, n. [OE. knight, cniht, knight, soldier, AS.
   cniht, cneoht, a boy, youth, attendant, military follower;
   akin to D. & G. knecht servant; perh. akin to E. kin.]
   1. A young servant or follower; a military attendant. [Obs.]
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      (a) In feudal times, a man-at-arms serving on horseback
          and admitted to a certain military rank with special
          ceremonies, including an oath to protect the
          distressed, maintain the right, and live a stainless
      (b) One on whom knighthood, a dignity next below that of
          baronet, is conferred by the sovereign, entitling him
          to be addressed as Sir; as, Sir John. [Eng.] Hence:
      (c) A champion; a partisan; a lover. "Give this ring to my
          true knight." Shak "In all your quarrels will I be
          your knight." --Tennyson.
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                Knights, by their oaths, should right poor
                ladies' harms.                    --Shak.
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   Note: Formerly, when a knight's name was not known, it was
         customary to address him as Sir Knight. The rank of a
         knight is not hereditary.
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   3. A piece used in the game of chess, usually bearing a
      horse's head.
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   4. A playing card bearing the figure of a knight; the knave
      or jack. [Obs.]
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   Carpet knight. See under Carpet.

   Knight of industry. See Chevalier d'industrie, under

   Knight of Malta, Knight of Rhodes, {Knight of St. John of
   Jerusalem}. See Hospitaler.

   Knight of the post, one who gained his living by giving
      false evidence on trials, or false bail; hence, a sharper
      in general. --Nares. "A knight of the post, . . . quoth
      he, for so I am termed; a fellow that will swear you
      anything for twelve pence." --Nash.

   Knight of the shire, in England, one of the representatives
      of a county in Parliament, in distinction from the
      representatives of cities and boroughs.

   Knights commanders, Knights grand cross, different
      classes of the Order of the Bath. See under Bath, and

   Knights of labor, a secret organization whose professed
      purpose is to secure and maintain the rights of workingmen
      as respects their relations to their employers. [U. S.]

   Knights of Pythias, a secret order, founded in Washington,
      D. C., in 1864, for social and charitable purposes.

   Knights of the Round Table, knights belonging to an order
      which, according to the legendary accounts, was instituted
      by the mythical King Arthur. They derived their common
      title from the table around which they sat on certain
      solemn days. --Brande & C.
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