A hamlet is (usually — see below) a small settlement, too small or unimportant to be considered a village.
In the U.K., a hamlet is defined ecclesiastically. It is a village that may or may not have its own church, but which does not form a parish in its own right.
New York State
In the U.S. state of New York, hamlets are defined as unincorporated areas within towns. New York hamlets are, unlike defined villages, not legal entities, and have no local government or officially drawn boundaries. They rely on the surrounding town for all municipal government services.
- See further: Political subdivisions of New York State.
In numerous provinces in Canada, there are officially designated municipalities, generally smaller than villages, classified as hamlets. A notable exception is Sherwood Park, Alberta, which has a population of more than 70,000 – well above that needed for city status — but which has retained hamlet status. Hamlets are always unincorporated, except in Canada's northern territories. where they are incorporated municipalities.