Instead of brother or sister, we can say sibling. Instead of password and username, we can say credentials.

A compressed form with a stricter style provides a formal sensation. I'd like to achieve that for the governmental units of division for my country. Our kingdom is divided into 30 counties and each of those is divided in a total of 300 municipalities.

How can I say county and/or municipality using a single word (or at least a collective term not mentioning those explicitly)? Is there a formal term for govermentally statued administrative units of geographical division but a bit shorter?

  • I think what you're looking for is essentially an "antonym" of nationwide. For which local or regional might suit certain contexts, but for other contexts you might consider things like federal, state-level, county-level, provincial,... Or even parochial (in the geographical sense "of the parish", not "small-minded, sectarian"). Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 17:42

2 Answers 2


This seems to be a uncommon enough topic that there is little consensus on which phrase to use.

For instance, one relatively common term would be administrative division. This phrase seems sufficient, yet it's often used inconsistently:

Encyclopædia Britanica describes a county as an "internal territorial and administrative division in the United Kingdom, United States, and other English-speaking countries." But on that same page, we see: "County: division of government"

China's Minsitry of Foreign Affairs (maybe not the best source of good English usage) describes its "Administrative Division System" thus:

Administrative Division System

China's administrative units are currently based on a three-level system...A special administrative region is a local administrative area directly under the Central Government.

Other reasonable options include administrative unit/entity/region, subnational unit, or country subdivision.

This Wikipedia article lists all of these and more: "Administrative division".

Another term, as suggested by @JeffZeitlin, would be jurisdiction. NB that jurisdiction has a much less general meaning than administrative division, as explained above.

  • ...and if you're talking about law, you might see the word jurisdictions come into play. Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 17:56
  • @JeffZeitlin So, in my case, jurisdictional units? Or is is jurisdictious units? Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 17:58
  • @KonradViltersten - actually, it would probably be just jurisdictions in your case; it really depends on context.For example, a New York City police officer does not have arrest powers in Newark, New Jersey; he is "out of his jurisdiction" - New York, Newark, Yonkers, Mount Vernon, and so on are separate jurisdictions. Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 18:06
  • @JeffZeitlin Brilliant! I was so expecting at least two-word compound that I missed the actually intended point in your suggestion. So dumb... You might want to post it as an answer or perhaps edit the existing answer amending your contribution. Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 19:43
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    Agreed. Although, in my particular case, jurisdiction is perfect due to brevity (still covering the original intent, of course - brevity's merely a cherry on top). Is it OK if I edit your answer to add that as well, please? Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 6:37

I'm not sure about US usage but in the UK county councils, city councils, town councils, district councils, borough councils, metropolitan boroughs, parish councils and unitary authorities are all "local authorities" of various types. Some have more responsibilities than others and some are subordinate to others in some ways but they are all local authorities.

This is somewhat parallel to the way in which "siblings" is a word meaning "brothers and sisters" but is actually more similar to "family members" which includes parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, cousins, nieces, nephews and so on.

If there are no more divisions of responsibility in your country than counties and municipalities then "local authorities" would be a good fit: if, however, there are other layers of administration such as village councils below the municipalities which you wish to exclude from your group term I think you might struggle to find one.

  • Good point. As a matter of fact, my intention is to keep it a bit vague, although hierarchical, to be able to incorporate future administrative weirdifications. :) Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 6:35

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