Definition of country in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkʌntri/

noun (plural countries)

1A nation with its own government, occupying a particular territory: the country’s increasingly precarious economic position Spain, Italy, and other European countries
More example sentences
  • It is more than four times what all the European Union countries together spend on arms.
  • He also wants European states to slash aid to the poor countries that refugees flee from.
  • In some ways it seems like a better option for some countries to turn to democracy.
state, nation, sovereign state, kingdom, realm, territory, province, principality, palatinate, duchy, empire, commonwealth
homeland, native land, native soil, fatherland, motherland, mother country, country of origin, birthplace;
the land of one's birth, the land of one's fathers, the old country, one's roots, one's home
1.1 (the country) The people of a nation: the whole country took to the streets
More example sentences
  • Let's leave motorists alone and concentrate on the many other problems within the borough and the country as a whole.
  • Incentives and discipline work together to secure a desirable outcome for the country as a whole.
  • Over the past 12 months, the country as a whole has seen a series of appalling incidents involving guns.
people, public, general public, population, populace, community, citizenry, nation, body politic, collective;
inhabitants, residents, citizens, electors, voters, taxpayers, ratepayers, grass roots
British informal Joe Public
rare indigenes
2 (often the country) Districts and small settlements outside large urban areas or the capital: the airfield is right out in the country [as modifier]: a country lane
More example sentences
  • Then he said they had died in a gun battle with soldiers on a country road outside the capital.
  • Shoppers, workers and students we spoke to complained of the country roads outside the town.
  • It is vitally important that the people here are united in this thrust to depopulate the country area.
countryside, green belt, great outdoors;
provinces, backwoods, wilds, wilderness, hinterland;
a rural area, a rural district;
farmland, agricultural land;
Australian  outback, bush, back country, backblocks, booay;
South African  backveld, platteland
informal sticks, back of beyond, middle of nowhere
North American informal boondocks, boonies, tall timbers
Australian informal Woop Woop, beyond the black stump
3 [mass noun] An area or region with regard to its physical features: a tract of wild country
More example sentences
  • It is a wild and woolly country which drew me in and one that continues to find new ways to embrace me.
  • But his true appeal lies in his own personal evocation of wild country.
  • It was a wild, rugged country that used horses and carts for transport and grew wheat in their fields.
terrain, land, territory, parts;
landscape, scenery, setting, surroundings, environment
3.1A region associated with a particular person, work, or television programme: an old mansion in Stevenson’s ‘Kidnapped’ country
More example sentences
  • A farming family in Herriot country is offering death with dignity for all creatures great and small.
  • Once you arrive at D.H. Lawrence Country you can begin to enjoy the Lawrence countryside which he referred to as ‘The Country of my Heart’.
  • This area is also famous as Macbeth Country, and the The Birnam Wood, made famous by the witches' prophesy in Shakespeare's MacBeth, is on the south bank of the River Tay.
4 short for country music.



across country

Not keeping to roads: their route was across country, through fields of corn
More example sentences
  • We looped off the road and went again across country.
  • And really, he wants to date her, so he agrees to take her kids in a road trip across country.
  • Two-thirds of it will be on roads and the rest across country.

go (or appeal) to the country

British Test public opinion by dissolving Parliament and holding a general election: the prime minister had been due to go to the country by November
More example sentences
  • Not since the Labour's longest suicide note in 1983 has a political party gone to the country with such an incredible economic policy.
  • What political party has ever gone to the country with such a feeble platform?
  • In today's Independent on Sunday newspaper a poll of 110 Labour backbenchers showed only 45% openly in favour of going to the country on May 3.

one's line of country

British A subject in which one is skilled or knowledgeable: anagrams are not in my line of country
More example sentences
  • At the same time we're being encouraged to publish stuff in hard copy in journals, refereed journals and refereed books, which is my line of country.
  • ‘Funny that, I had someone who shares your line of country in during the week,’ said Bob.
  • Certainly it is not in the line of country that your Honour was talking about.


Middle English: from Old French cuntree, from medieval Latin contrata (terra) '(land) lying opposite', from Latin contra 'against, opposite'.

  • Country comes from medieval Latin contrata terra, meaning ‘the land lying opposite, the landscape spread out in front of you’. This is based on Latin contra ‘against or opposite’ and terra ‘land’, the source of words at terrace. A country fit for heroes to live in is a phrase associated with the British prime minister David Lloyd George (1863–1945). In a speech in 1918, he said ‘What is our task? To make Britain a fit country for heroes to live in.’ A person from a rural background who is unfamiliar with, and alarmed by, urban life can be called a country mouse. The allusion is to one of Aesop's fables, which contrasts the country mouse with the streetwise city-dwelling town mouse. In the fable each mouse visits the other, but is in the end convinced of the superiority of its own home.

Words that rhyme with country


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: coun|try

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