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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Viscount \Vis"count`\, n. [OE. vicounte, OF. visconte, vescunte, F. vicomte, LL. vicecomes; L. vice (see Vice, a.) + comes a companion, LL., a count. See Count.] 1. (O. Eng. Law) An officer who formerly supplied the place of the count, or earl; the sheriff of the county. [1913 Webster] 2. A nobleman of the fourth rank, next in order below an earl and next above a baron; also, his degree or title of nobility. See Peer, n., 3. [Eng.] --Chaucer. [1913 Webster]