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
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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Biden thanked the boy for serving his country, too. Darlene Superville, USA TODAY, 7 May 2022 Women have a crucial role in the history of my country. Txell Hernández-gil, Vogue, 6 May 2022 As the people of Ukraine heroically defend their country from destruction by Russian military forces, there remains a very real risk—expectation, actually—that Russia or threat actors aligned with Russia could launch devastating cyberattacks. Tony Bradley, Forbes, 6 May 2022 The press barons were more than willing to use military force to establish or uphold their country’s dominion over non-White nations. Washington Post, 6 May 2022 On Tuesday, a Canadian official said her country will be open. Li Cohen, CBS News, 5 May 2022 Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for peace talks — so far unsuccessful — while urging his country to fight back. Nicholas Rice,, 5 May 2022 When Russia invaded her country, her only concern for her and her family was staying alive. Los Angeles Times, 5 May 2022 And if Roe is indeed overturned, God bless our country that can make such a terrible, coldhearted mistake and yet, half a century later, redress it, right it, turn it around. Peggy Noonan, WSJ, 5 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The logline: The Gabby Petito Story will explore Gabby and her fiancé Brian Laundrie’s complicated relationship and what may have gone wrong during their cross-country trip that resulted in Gabby’s tragic murder. Marc Berman, Forbes, 5 May 2022 In 2020, photographer Sinna Nasseri set out on a cross-country road trip to capture what Americans were thinking and feeling during that contentious election year. Vogue, 4 May 2022 Petito disappeared while on a cross-country trip with her fiancé, Laundrie, last August. CBS News, 2 May 2022 Ronnie and Beverly Barker’s family spent more than a week anxiously awaiting news after the Indiana couple went missing in Nevada during a cross-country road trip. Washington Post, 8 Apr. 2022 Gabby Petito, an aspiring social media influencer, vanished on a cross-country trip with Brian Laundrie, her boyfriend, in a saga that filled newspaper pages and cable TV newscasts for weeks last summer. NBC News, 31 Mar. 2022 At the time, Alana was also a distance runner and won a national age-group cross-country race at the age of nine. Bill Center, San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 Mar. 2022 Last year, a moose forced a temporary halt of the lead pack of skiers at the 50-kilometer Tour of Anchorage cross-country ski race. Chris Bieri, Anchorage Daily News, 7 Mar. 2022 The snow affected the men's cross-country relay ski race so much that workers used leaf blowers to clear it out of the tracks. Bernie Wilson, ajc, 13 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

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

9 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Country.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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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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