mid-13c., "district, native land," from Old French contree, from Vulgar Latin *(terra) contrata "(land) lying opposite," or "(land) spread before one," from Latin contra "opposite, against" (see contra-). Sense narrowed 1520s to rural areas, as opposed to cities. Replaced Old English land. As an adjective from late 14c. First record of country-and-western music style is from 1942. Country club first recorded 1886. Country mile "a long way" is from 1915, American English.
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