country (n.)

mid-13c., "(one's) native land;" c. 1300, "any geographic area," sometimes with implications of political organization, from Old French contree, cuntrede "region, district, country," from Vulgar Latin *(terra) contrata "(land) lying opposite," or "(land) spread before one," in Medieval Latin "country, region," from Latin contra "opposite, against" (see contra-). The native word is land.

Also from c. 1300 as "area surrounding a walled city or town; the open country." By early 16c. the word was applied mostly to rural areas, as opposed to towns and cities. Meaning "inhabitants of a country, the people" is from c. 1300.

INTERVIEWER [Steve Rossi]: "Would you say you're the best fighter in the country?
PUNCH-DRUNK BOXER [Marty Allen]: "Yeah, but in the city they murder me." 

As an adjective from late 14c., "peculiar to one's own country (obsolete); by 1520s as "pertaining to or belonging to the rural parts of a region," typically with implications of "rude, unpolished."

Country air "fresh air" is from 1630s. First record of country-and-western as a music style is by 1942, American English. Country music is by 1968. Country club "recreational and social club, typically exclusive, located in or near the country" is by 1886. Country mile "a long way" is from 1915, American English. Country-mouse is from 1580s; the fable of the mouse cousins is as old as Aesop. Country road "road through rural regions" is from 1873.

Origin and meaning of country

updated on October 13, 2021

Definitions of country from WordNet

country (n.)
a politically organized body of people under a single government;
the country's largest manufacturer
Synonyms: state / nation / land / commonwealth / res publica / body politic
country (n.)
the territory occupied by a nation;
Synonyms: state / land
country (n.)
the people who live in a nation or country;
the whole country worshipped him
Synonyms: nation / land
country (n.)
an area outside of cities and towns;
his poetry celebrated the slower pace of life in the country
Synonyms: rural area
country (n.)
a particular geographical region of indefinite boundary (usually serving some special purpose or distinguished by its people or culture or geography);
Bible country
Synonyms: area
Etymologies are not definitions. From, not affiliated with etymonline.