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

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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


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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


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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The little country with a population smaller than Alabama's has competed in just seven World Cups, and this would be its first championship. Katherine Fominykh,, "World Cup final weekend: how to watch the matchups, plus time and odds," 14 July 2018 Some 95 percent of Google Translate users are outside the United States, often in multilingual countries such as India and Indonesia. Rory Smith, New York Times, "The Google Translate World Cup," 13 July 2018 The Bork hearings set in motion a series of forces that polarized the Supreme Court confirmation process and the country, mobilizing an army of judicial interest groups on both sides. Jeffrey Rosen, WSJ, "What We Learn from Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings," 13 July 2018 The other two countries to land spacecraft on the moon are the Soviet Union in September 1959 and China in December 2013. Alex Stuckey, Houston Chronicle, "NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine wants to boost collaboration with Israel," 13 July 2018 Despite Franklin’s efforts, this publishing imperialism tended to stunt the growth of indigenous publishing in many countries. Amanda Laugesen, Smithsonian, "This Cold War-Era Publishing House Wanted To Share American Values With the World," 13 July 2018 Algeria refused the dubious honor, as did multiple other countries. Lori Hinnant, The Christian Science Monitor, "Algeria stops expelling migrants into Sahara after pushback," 13 July 2018 South Korea is among the world’s most pro-American countries, with 75% of people holding a favorable view of the United States in 2017, according to Pew (although only 17% hold a favorable view of Trump). Time, "Inside Camp Humphreys, South Korea: America's Largest Overseas Military Base," 13 July 2018 Clearly, there are strong currents of popular discontent in both countries that conventional polling techniques do not capture fully. Arthur I. Cyr, Lake County News-Sun, "Cyr: Britain’s prime minister takes charge of cabinet," 13 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.

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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


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


see country entry 1

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Statistics for country

Last Updated

20 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for country

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

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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

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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).


to reject or criticize sharply

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