AskDefine | Define townships

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Plural of township

Extensive Definition

A township (or municipality) is a settlement which has the status and powers of a unit of local government. Specific use of the term to describe political subdivisions has varied by country.
The term township is a more common official term in English-speaking countries than municipality. In a number of countries (including Canada and the United States), the terms township and municipality are both used, with differing legal senses. However such differences are specific to the given country and represent no actual difference in the general sense of the words. Such a distinction is possible only in English-speaking countries, since other languages have only one word for the concept (Canada must therefore use canton for French-speakers instead of township). .
The existence of two English words corresponding to a single word in other languages is a common phenomenon due to the mixed Germanic and Romance origins of English. The word township is Germanic in origin, derived from Old English tún meaning "manor", while the word municipality is ultimately derived from Latin.

Uses of the term

Township (or municipality) is generally associated with an urban area. However there are many exceptions to this rule, especially in the U.S. In the Scottish Highlands the term describes a very small agricultural community, usually describing a local rural or semi-rural government within a county.
In most countries, a municipality is the smallest administrative subdivision to have its own democratically elected representative leadership.
The largest municipalities can be found in Canada and Greenland. Possibly the largest municipality in the world is Baie-James in northern Quebec, Canada, with a land area of 297,330 km² (114,800 sq. miles), which is larger than either Italy or the United Kingdom.

First-level entities


townships in Arabic: بلدية
townships in Czech: Obec
townships in German: Gemeinde
townships in Modern Greek (1453-): Δήμος
townships in Spanish: Municipio
townships in Finnish: Kunta
townships in French: Municipalité
townships in Japanese: タウンシップ制
townships in Norwegian: Township
townships in Polish: Township
townships in Chinese: 乡 (中国行政区划)
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