I made a pun the other day, and palmed it upon Holcroft, who grinned like a Cheshire cat. (Why do cats grin in Cheshire?—Because it was once a county palatine, and the cats cannot help laughing whenever they think of it, though I see no great joke in it.) I said that Holcroft, on being asked who were the best dramatic writers of the day, replied, "HOOK AND I." Mr Hook is author of several pieces, Tekeli, &c. You know what hooks and eyes are, don't you? They are what little boys do up their breeches with. [Charles Lamb, letter to Thomas Manning, Feb. 26, 1808]
mid-14c., "a shire, a definite division of a country or state for political and administrative purposes," from Anglo-French counte, from Late Latin comitatus "jurisdiction of a count," from Latin comes (see count (n.1)). It replaced Old English scir "shire."
From late 14c. as "the domain of a count or earl." County palatine, one distinguished by special privileges (Lancaster, Chester, Durham) is from mid-15c. County seat "seat of the government of a county" is by 1848, American English.
Old English aldormonn (Mercian), ealdormann (West Saxon) "Anglo-Saxon ruler, prince, chief; chief officer of a shire," from aldor, ealder "patriarch" (comparative of ald "old;" see old) + monn, mann "man" (from PIE root *man- (1) "man").
Presumably originally of elders of the clan or tribe, but already in Old English used for king's viceroys, regardless of age. In later Old English a more specific title, "chief magistrate of a county," having both civic and military duties. The word yielded under Canute to eorl (see earl), and after the Norman Conquest to count (n.). Having lost its specific sense, alderman was then applied to any head man; meaning "headman of a guild" (early 12c.) passed to "magistrate of a city" (c. 1200) as the guilds became identified with municipal government. Related: Aldermancy; aldermanic.
c. 1300, "district with its own church; members of such a church," from Anglo-French paroche, parosse (late 11c.), Old French paroisse, from Late Latin parochia, paroecia "a diocese," an alteration of Late Greek paroikia "a diocese or parish," from paroikos "a sojourner" (in Christian writers), in classical Greek, "neighbor," from para- "near" (see para- (1)) + oikos "house" (from PIE root *weik- (1) "clan").
The sense development of the word in the early Church is unclear, perhaps it is from "sojourner" used as epithet of early Christians as spiritual sojourners in the material world. In early Church writing the word was used in a more general sense than Greek dioikesis, though by 13c. they were synonymous. It replaced Old English preostscyr, literally "priest-shire." In Great Britain (from the 1630s), some southern American colonies, and Louisiana it has been the name for a purely civil division for purposes of local government, with boundaries originally corresponding to an ecclesiastical parish.
masc. proper name, from Old French Rogier, from Old High German Hrotger, literally "famous with the spear," from hruod- "fame, glory" + ger "spear" (see gar (n.)). "The name was introduced from Norman where OG Rodger was reinforced by the cognate ON Hroðgeirr" [Dictionary of English Surnames]. Pet forms include Hodge and Dodge. As a generic name for "a person," attested from 1630s. In 16c.-17c. cant, "a goose." Slang meaning "penis" was popular c. 1650-c. 1870; hence the slang verb sense of "to copulate with (a woman)," which is attested from 1711.
The use of the word in radio communication to mean "yes, I understand" is attested from 1941, from the U.S. military phonetic alphabet word for the letter -R-, in this case an abbreviation for "received." It is said to have been used likewise by the R.A.F. since 1938. Roger de Coverley, once a favorite English country dance, is said to have been so called from 1685. Addison took him early 18c. as the name of a recurring character in the "Spectator."
THE first of our society is a gentleman of Worcestershire, of ancient descent, a baronet, his name Sir Roger de Coverley. His great-grandfather was inventor of that famous country-dance which is called after him. All who know that shire are very well acquainted with the parts and merits of Sir Roger. [Addison]