Definition of country in US English:



  • 1A nation with its own government, occupying a particular territory.

    ‘the country's increasingly precarious economic position’
    • ‘It was possible for an Australian writer to get that kind of attention outside of the country.’
    • ‘It seems like everyone you talk to is keeping their eyes open for a job opportunity outside of the country.’
    • ‘The Government should take action and start thinking about how the country looks on the outside.’
    • ‘In some ways it seems like a better option for some countries to turn to democracy.’
    • ‘It is more than four times what all the European Union countries together spend on arms.’
    • ‘They are fearful that they will follow in the local district courts around the country.’
    • ‘We had not yet been able to find the way to overcome this obstacle to the revolution in our countries.’
    • ‘It is common for towns and cities in different countries to twin with each other.’
    • ‘It was shocking to me how many people came from outside the country to give him support.’
    • ‘Most of the evacuees have been taken on buses to the various states outside the country.’
    • ‘This will reduce the range of cheap drugs available to African and other countries.’
    • ‘Taking a cross-section of the country would reveal an urban versus rural spilt.’
    • ‘The four-bedroomed property is in a suburb of the country's capital Colombo.’
    • ‘In more and more countries around the world output is now stalling, if not falling.’
    • ‘It seems that there are a few differences in public domain laws in different countries.’
    • ‘While he is right about the sale and price of milk, all of this milk is not coming from outside the country.’
    • ‘The technology has been so successful that they say it is likely to be copied in other urban areas across the country.’
    • ‘The rest of the country might perceive areas like the Lake District to be prosperous.’
    • ‘Many mangrove forest areas along the country's coast have been converted into fish farms.’
    • ‘I love watching the news in other countries just to see how little coverage we get.’
    • ‘Does a common hatred of a third country reduce the chance of war between two countries?’
    • ‘He also wants European states to slash aid to the poor countries that refugees flee from.’
    • ‘With the reunification of Germany, Berlin became once again the capital of the country.’
    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
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    1. 1.1the country The people of a nation.
      ‘the whole country took to the streets’
      • ‘Actually, The paoer's attitude to celebrities reflects the country as a whole.’
      • ‘The rest of the country has had its collective voice ignored for too long - we must be heard!’
      • ‘Rangers should be relieved but the country as a whole should be mortified to be portrayed in this way.’
      • ‘Football, and I would argue the country as a whole, is a little less colourful for the loss of one of it's greatest men.’
      • ‘How does England's stunning rugby World Cup victory affect the country as a whole?’
      • ‘Many argue this would keep the country moving while suitable public transport alternatives are worked out.’
      • ‘I cannot avoid the conclusion that the country's whole political class has, thus far, failed it.’
      • ‘It seemed the whole of the country was there in one form or another.’
      • ‘Over the past 12 months, the country as a whole has seen a series of appalling incidents involving guns.’
      • ‘Education is so important, important for the country as a whole, not just the individual.’
      • ‘He feels the story is relevant in the context of communal tensions the country is facing now.’
      • ‘But he or she needs to be seen to have the support of the country as a whole, as well as the goods to do the job.’
      • ‘Let's leave motorists alone and concentrate on the many other problems within the borough and the country as a whole.’
      • ‘In theory the whole of the country could be represented at a meeting of the Estates.’
      • ‘Within the country as a whole though, the antipathy towards the party baffles me.’
      • ‘Eight of our GCSE candidates were awarded one of the top 5 marks in the whole of the country.’
      • ‘The morale of the army only reflected that of the country as a whole.’
      • ‘Incentives and discipline work together to secure a desirable outcome for the country as a whole.’
      • ‘On the Monday the country enjoyed a public holiday to celebrate the Queen's Birthday.’
      • ‘In a recent national poll she was voted as one of the country's most popular women - second only to the Queen.’
      people, public, general public, population, populace, community, citizenry, nation, body politic, collective
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  • 2often the countryDistricts and small settlements outside large towns, cities, or the capital.

    ‘the airfield is right out in the country’
    as modifier ‘a country lane’
    • ‘A campaign group has been launched in an attempt to stop people dying on the country lanes of the region.’
    • ‘It is about time the country areas got their fair share of the road grants.’
    • ‘It is vitally important that the people here are united in this thrust to depopulate the country area.’
    • ‘The Empress went to the country for the day with her son and left me in charge.’
    • ‘The French, it is claimed, have now rediscovered family life, love and liberty, and hairdressers called Madame Niki can close on a Friday and go to the country.’
    • ‘He had gone to the country just before Christmas and was believed to be staying for a month.’
    • ‘We went to the city, but we also went to the country… it's so pretty out there.’
    • ‘The affairs of the town, the country and the outside world meant little to them.’
    • ‘Then he said they had died in a gun battle with soldiers on a country road outside the capital.’
    • ‘The objective evidence that the violence from the GIA are mainly confined to the country areas.’
    • ‘So I went to the country for the weekend - that's the countryside, those large stretches of verdant open land between the towns and cities.’
    • ‘You hear everywhere that they are calling out for more nurses and definitely for the country area.’
    • ‘The three of us speed off out of Nottingham, through the centre of Derby, and out onto the country lanes beyond.’
    • ‘We race through Urus-Martan, a large central Chechen settlement, and rocky country lanes.’
    • ‘Shoppers, workers and students we spoke to complained of the country roads outside the town.’
    • ‘Wireless technology is the cheapest and easiest means of connecting the country to the outside world.’
    countryside, green belt, great outdoors
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  • 3An area or region with regard to its physical features.

    ‘a tract of wild country’
    • ‘Everyone else involved is to spend a winter in the high country with the wild brumbies.’
    • ‘She had gone to bathe before she prepared for a long and wearying journey across wild country.’
    • ‘Perhaps a verdant temperate country with beautiful wild flowers and cute native animals?’
    • ‘But his true appeal lies in his own personal evocation of wild country.’
    • ‘Miles and miles of razor wire and guards and forests, then really broken land, very hard country.’
    • ‘This opens up a fine panorama of the surrounding hill country, with peak upon peak now in sight.’
    • ‘For a dry, desert country the greenery in this area makes for a striking contrast.’
    • ‘They spend the summer in wild country, haunting the great flows of Sutherland.’
    • ‘Moldova is on a fertile plain with small areas of hill country in the center and north.’
    • ‘It was a wild, rugged country that used horses and carts for transport and grew wheat in their fields.’
    • ‘The book focuses on Gippsland's high country and the long history of the area.’
    • ‘It is a wild and woolly country which drew me in and one that continues to find new ways to embrace me.’
    terrain, land, territory, parts
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    1. 3.1 A region associated with a particular person, especially a writer, or with a particular work.
      ‘Steinbeck country includes the Monterey Peninsula’
      • ‘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’.’
      • ‘A farming family in Herriot country is offering death with dignity for all creatures great and small.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘More than a dozen highly contagious and potentially lethal diseases can be spread by horses, hounds, and hunt followers as they race across country.’
      • ‘‘As Brits, we would have benefited from a bigger challenge across country,’ he says.’
      • ‘Two-thirds of it will be on roads and the rest across country.’
      • ‘She was forced to struggle in severe weather and in darkness across country to seek assistance in a highly distressed state and suffering from hypothermia.’
      • ‘Whether you're packing to go for a walk to the park or your planning a trip across country, when your travelling with toddlers packing poses a problem.’
      • ‘Most people came down the motorway or across country, they found their way and were impressed with the facilities.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, your baby sister is eloping with her French teacher and your boyfriend is hitchhiking across country to surf on the opposite coast.’
      • ‘So it made the drive easier if not slightly disturbing since he was used to women talking up a storm on a road trip across country.’


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