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 organization is meeting with officials around the country, according to coordinator Jeremy Grant. Emily Glazer, WSJ, "Banks Have a Solution for Their Identity-Fraud Woes: The DMV," 12 Nov. 2018 Enthusiastic new candidates emerged around the country, offering alternatives to status-quo American politicians. Michael Pincus, Teen Vogue, "Losing in the Midterm Elections Isn’t the End," 9 Nov. 2018 National charity shops Goodwill and Salvation Army have locations around the country. Jenny Xie, Curbed, "Where to donate furniture and household items," 8 Nov. 2018 The New York Marathon ranks just behind the Boston Marathon as one of the most selective 26.2-mile events in the country. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "4 Ways to Get Into the NYC Marathon—Plus 4 Marathons That Are Much Easier to Enter," 6 Nov. 2018 Instead, Davidson came on to review—and laugh at—a few candidates running for office around the country. Stacey Leasca, Glamour, "Pete Davidson Opened Up About His Breakup With Ariana Grande on SNL," 4 Nov. 2018 From the best shopping in the southwest, to Pritzker prize-winning architecture, to the largest urban arts district in the country, Dallas has it all. Condé Naste Traveler: Post, "Discover Dallas Sweepstakes," 26 Oct. 2018 Devices have been delivered through the mail and by courier to locations around the country. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "The Technology of Pipe Bombs and Suspicious Packages, Explained," 25 Oct. 2018 There are currently 15,000 U.S. troops serving in the country. Fox News, "2 Americans wounded, top general escapes harm in deadly shooting at governor's mansion in Afghanistan," 18 Oct. 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

17 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

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).


by force of circumstances

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