coun·​try | \ˈkən-trē \
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

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from country


countryish \ ˈkən-​trē-​ish \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for country

Synonyms: Noun

commonwealth, land, nation, sovereignty (also sovranty), state

Synonyms: Adjective

bucolic, pastoral, rural, rustic (also rustical)

Antonyms: Adjective


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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


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.


plain country living among unpretentious people
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The fighting spirit is engrained in a group of players whose psyche was forged growing up in a country ravaged by war as the former Yugoslavia broke up in the 1990s. Rob Harris,, "Three reasons why Croatia will win the World Cup final," 14 July 2018 In a country that is among the world’s top consumers of sugary drinks, Chiapas is a champion: Residents of San Cristóbal and the lush highlands that envelop the city drink on average more than half a gallon of soda a day. Oscar Lopez,, "In Mexican town, Coca-Cola is everywhere, and so is diabetes," 14 July 2018 Croatia, a country that only gained independence in 1991, will be playing in its first. Graham Dunbar,, "A Youthful France Faces Veteran-Laden Croatia For World Cup," 14 July 2018 While many in those nations have expressed pride and joy that a Balkan country has made it to the final, Croatia's stellar achievement also has caused envy and nationalist outbursts evoking the war era. Jovana Gec, Fox News, "Mixed emotions in Balkans over Croatia's World Cup success," 13 July 2018 Not since Uruguay in 1950 would a team from such a small country have won. The Economist, "Croatia stands on the cusp of World Cup victory," 13 July 2018 Shark recalls a fear of playing a foreign country without the proper resources. Billboard, "The Down Underdogs: Australian Alternative Artists on Making it Big in America and at Home," 13 July 2018 These offices were run by citizens of the home country, many of whom had studied in the United States or had some other tie there. Amanda Laugesen, Smithsonian, "This Cold War-Era Publishing House Wanted To Share American Values With the World," 13 July 2018 The flaws would have been extremely valuable for intelligence-gathering if a country knew how to exploit them. Lily Hay Newman, WIRED, "Senators Fear Meltdown and Spectre Disclosure Gave China an Edge," 11 July 2018

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.

See More

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


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


see country entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about country

Statistics for country

Last Updated

3 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for country

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for country



English Language Learners Definition of country

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an area of land that is controlled by its own government

the country : 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 \
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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on country

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for country

Spanish Central: Translation of country

Nglish: Translation of country for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of country for Arabic Speakers

Comments on country

What made you want to look up country? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something that serves to warn or remind

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!