coun·​try | \ ˈkən-trē How to pronounce country (audio) \
plural countries

Definition of country

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an indefinite usually extended expanse of land : region miles of open country
2a : the land of a person's birth, residence, or citizenship left their country for America
b : a political state or nation or its territory the country of Italy
3a : the people of a state or district : populace Most of the country voted to end the death penalty.
b : jury
c : electorate sense 2 The government will go to the country with this issue.
4 : rural as distinguished from urban areas prefers the country to the city



Definition of country (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or characteristic of the country country living
2a : of or relating to a decorative style associated with life in the country an English country look also : possessing a style of rustic simplicity country furniture
b : prepared or processed with farm supplies and procedures country ham
3 : of, relating to, suitable for, or featuring country music country singers

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Other Words from country


countryish \ ˈkən-​trē-​ish How to pronounce countryish (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for country

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Did You Know?

The English word country is derived from Latin contra, which means “against” or “on the opposite side.” In Medieval Latin the noun contrata was formed from contra. Contrata was literally “that which is situated opposite the beholder.” But that which is opposite the beholder is just what he or she sees. So contrata meant “landscape.” It also came to mean “expanse of land, region.” This was the original meaning of English country, which over the years has itself developed a number of new meanings.

Examples of country in a Sentence

Noun The two countries have a lot in common. They drove across the country from California to New York. They are living in different parts of the country. The whole country was stunned by the news. The President has the support of most of the country. He moved to the north country to fish and hunt. We went camping in the hill country. They drove through miles of open country. She lives out in the country. They prefer the country to the city. Adjective plain country living among unpretentious people
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But when the world economy gains too much momentum, interest rates and oil prices can rise uncomfortably high, hobbling a country that is a net importer of both capital and crude. The Economist, "Could the vaccine help ailing emerging-market shares?," 14 Nov. 2020 The figures have cast a pall over a country that has already seen more than 42,000 deaths attributed to covid-19. Washington Post, "Coronavirus deaths cast a pall over France, two weeks into a national lockdown," 13 Nov. 2020 She is tasked with developing a country that suffered nearly 50 years of isolation and decay under strict military rule, years of which she was held under house arrest. Reuters, CNN, "Aung San Suu Kyi party wins enough seats to form Myanmar's next government," 13 Nov. 2020 Brazil went on a spending spree that is one of the most generous of any developing nation, but puts at risk the public finances of a country that has long teetered on the edge of a fiscal crisis. Luciana Magalhaes, WSJ, "Brazil’s President Promised Economic Change. Now He Is Writing Covid-19 Relief Checks.," 12 Nov. 2020 Vanuatu, a country of just under 300,000 people located in the south Pacific Ocean, according to the CIA, reported its first COVID-19 case on Tuesday. Jessica Flores, USA TODAY, "Coronavirus updates: California nears 1M cases; Ticketmaster to require proof of COVID test, vaccine; South Dakota mayor votes against masks," 12 Nov. 2020 The chief of state had emerged as the country’s most vocal proponent in pushing through measures to end decades of dirty politics. Christine Armario And Franklin Briceno, The Christian Science Monitor, "Why Peruvians are protesting against their new government," 12 Nov. 2020 Perhaps this was because in a country (and a world) where most people were poor, jobs and money are paramount considerations. Kyle Sammin, Washington Examiner, "The Real Majority at 50," 12 Nov. 2020 But the monitoring and policing of small fishing boats is nearly impossible, even in a relatively rich country like Canada. Joshua Rapp Learn, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Number of Small Fishing Vessels Smuggling Illegal Drugs Has Tripled," 12 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Shortly after that, Urquiza found trophies that declared Mark Urquiza the high school champion of the 500-meter dash and cross-country running. Richard Ruelas, The Arizona Republic, "President-elect Biden has long consoled Arizona in its times of grief," 8 Nov. 2020 The center also keeps its trails open for winter snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Washington Post, "Autumn in the Adirondacks is a mountain do," 30 Oct. 2020 Earlier this year, photographer Sinna Nasseri set out on a cross-country road trip to push beyond stereotypes and find out how people across America are really affected by a variety of topical issues. Emma Specter, Vogue, "Photographer Sinna Nasseri's Journey Across America Continues, Even In A Pandemic," 29 Oct. 2020 Gretchen’s first cross-country meet came at 5 weeks old. David Woods, The Indianapolis Star, "In the genes: Two Park Tudor sophomores upholding family tradition of Kennedys, Farleys," 22 Oct. 2020 Among Big Ten men’s programs, the Gophers will join two other schools that don’t offer the standard trio of cross-country, indoor track and outdoor track. Marcus Fuller, Star Tribune, "University of Minnesota decisionmakers called 'tone-deaf' for thinking outdoor track doesn't need indoor season," 9 Oct. 2020 Crouse, who died in the rappelling accident, was a freshman on the Boulder Creek cross-country team. Richard Obert, The Arizona Republic, "Boulder Creek runner Lucas Johnstone driven to become Navy SEAL since tragic death of firefighter father," 2 Nov. 2020 That’s the day City Section football, volleyball, water polo and cross-country teams were supposed to launch practices. Eric Sondheimer Columnist, Los Angeles Times, "LAUSD chief puts brakes on Dec. 14 start day for high school sports season," 30 Oct. 2020 From navigating education through a pandemic to letting a child begin the school year on schedule because the youngster’s family is in the midst of a cross-country move, remote education looks like a long-term reality for Lake County schools. Steve Sadin,, "Lake County superintendents, with ‘no guarantee’ of normalcy in 2021-22 school year, prepare for long-term remote learning," 23 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'country.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of country


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for country

Noun and Adjective

Middle English contree, from Anglo-French cuntree, contré, from Medieval Latin contrata, from Latin contra against, on the opposite side

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Time Traveler for country

Time Traveler

The first known use of country was in the 13th century

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Statistics for country

Last Updated

16 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Country.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for country


How to pronounce country (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of country

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an area of land that is controlled by its own government
: the people who live in a country
: an area or region that has a particular quality or feature or is known for a particular activity.



English Language Learners Definition of country (Entry 2 of 2)

: of, relating to, or characteristic of the country
: of or relating to country music


coun·​try | \ ˈkən-trē How to pronounce country (audio) \
plural countries

Kids Definition of country

1 : a land lived in by a people with a common government the countries of Europe
2 : region sense 1, district good farming country
3 : open rural land away from big towns and cities Take a ride in the country.
4 : the people of a nation a whole country in revolt

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