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

Essential Meaning of country

1 : an area of land that is controlled by its own government : nation The two countries have a lot in common. European/foreign countries See More ExamplesThey drove across the country from California to New York. They are living in different parts of the country.Hide
2 : the people who live in a country The whole country was stunned by the news. The President has the support of most of the country.
3 : an area or region that has a particular quality or feature or is known for a particular activity. He moved to the north country to fish and hunt. We went camping in the hill country. See More ExamplesThey drove through miles of open country. We took a trip to wine country. [=an area where grapes are grown and wine is made]Hide

Full 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
6 geology : country rock sense 2



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

Other Words from country


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

Synonyms & Antonyms for country

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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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 Understanding the impact physicians have is particularly important as the country continues to drive vaccine uptake among adults, approach expanding eligibility to those under age 12, and begin the booster phase of Covid-19 vaccines. Sanjula Jain And Jarrett Lewis, STAT, 15 Nov. 2021 The Northwest Christian Crusaders finished as the top team of D-IV with a time of 1:30:01, taking home their first boys cross country state championship in school history. Jeremiah Sosa, The Arizona Republic, 14 Nov. 2021 As the country emerges from the pandemic, there are signs that the government is ceding some ground to its critics. Simon Willis, Fortune, 14 Nov. 2021 The bloody fighting inside Litoral prison that killed 119 inmates in late September was described by authorities as the South American country’s worst ever prison massacre. NBC News, 14 Nov. 2021 So, only one in five Americans think the country is heading in the right direction. ABC News, 14 Nov. 2021 The distinction between China the country and the Chinese consumers provides a case in point. Pamela N. Danziger, Forbes, 14 Nov. 2021 Biden’s current ratings mirror the country’s deep partisan divisions, with similar majorities of Democrats approving and Republicans disapproving, while independents lean negative, 52% to 44%. Dan Balz, Scott Clement And Emily Guskin, Anchorage Daily News, 14 Nov. 2021 The prime minister made the announcement in a voice message on social media after the Southeast Asian country has required lengthy quarantine for more than 18 months. CNN, 14 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The City Section and Southern Section will hold its cross-country championships on Saturday. Eric Sondheimer Columnist, Los Angeles Times, 15 Nov. 2021 The festive red truck — which will be once again decked out in thousands of sparkling lights and holiday décor — will embark on an epic, cross-country tour. Dave Quinn,, 11 Nov. 2021 The organization also precisely times around 50 races -- including high school cross-country competitions, marathons, triathlons and other public events -- each year. Chris M. Worrell, cleveland, 9 Nov. 2021 The Louisiana high school cross-country championships are Monday. New York Times, 9 Nov. 2021 This threatens winter sports such as downhill and cross-country skiing. Washington Post, 4 Nov. 2021 Camping and cross-country skiing will no longer be allowed in 2026, according to state records that outline land restrictions for the site. Rashod Taylor, ProPublica, 14 Oct. 2021 Classic track trails are the two-groove track groomed into the snow for 'classic' style cross-country skiing. Brandon Perlman, Travel + Leisure, 10 Oct. 2021 After making the jump to cross-country skiing for the Winter Games, the 37-year-old will once again compete in taekwondo after qualifying last year. Jordan Mendoza, USA TODAY, 17 July 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near country



country almond

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Statistics for country

Last Updated

17 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Country.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Nov. 2021.

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More Definitions for country


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

More from Merriam-Webster on country

Nglish: Translation of country for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of country for Arabic Speakers


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