See more synonyms for country on
noun, plural coun·tries.
  1. a state or nation: What European countries have you visited?
  2. the territory of a nation.
  3. the people of a district, state, or nation: The whole country backed the president in his decision.
  4. the land of one's birth or citizenship.
  5. rural districts, including farmland, parkland, and other sparsely populated areas, as opposed to cities or towns: Many city dwellers like to spend their vacations in the country.
  6. any considerable territory demarcated by topographical conditions, by a distinctive population, etc.: mountainous country; the Amish country of Pennsylvania.
  7. a tract of land considered apart from any geographical or political limits; region; district.
  8. the public.
  9. Law. the public at large, as represented by a jury.
  10. country music.
  1. of, from, or characteristic of the country; rural: a winding country road.
  2. of, relating to, or associated with country music: That Nashville station plays country records all day long.
  3. rude; unpolished; rustic: country manners.
  4. of, from, or pertaining to a particular country.
  5. Obsolete. of one's own country.
  1. go to the country, British. to dissolve a Parliament that has cast a majority vote disagreeing with the prime minister and cabinet and to call for the election of a new House of Commons.Also appeal to the country.
  2. put oneself upon the/one's country, Law. to present one's cause formally before a jury.

Origin of country

1200–50; Middle English cuntree < Anglo-French, Old French < Vulgar Latin *(regiō) contrāta terrain opposite the viewer, equivalent to Latin contr(ā) counter3 + -āta, feminine of -ātus -ate1; compare German Gegend region, derivative of gegen against
Related formsin·ter·coun·try, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for countries

Contemporary Examples of countries

  • There are reasons that European countries tend to avoid fluoride.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Anti-Fluoriders Are The OG Anti-Vaxxers

    Michael Schulson

    July 27, 2016

  • According to Pew, 14 of the 20 countries in the Middle East and North Africa have blasphemy laws.

    The Daily Beast logo
    In Defense of Blasphemy

    Michael Tomasky

    January 9, 2015

  • We do see that a few European countries have them on the books: Germany, Poland, Italy, Ireland, a couple more.

    The Daily Beast logo
    In Defense of Blasphemy

    Michael Tomasky

    January 9, 2015

  • The same picture emerges from middle class men in the U.S., Canada, and the Nordic countries.

    The Daily Beast logo
    How Good Dads Can Change the World

    Gary Barker, PhD, Michael Kaufman

    January 6, 2015

  • In Scandinavian countries this discrimination has been dramatically reduced.

    The Daily Beast logo
    How Good Dads Can Change the World

    Gary Barker, PhD, Michael Kaufman

    January 6, 2015

Historical Examples of countries

  • Of all countries in the world, there is none I so much wish to visit as Persia.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • But if it is His own country, it don't make Him any connysoor of countries with me.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • In some countries it actually took the place of the old tribal dialect.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • We have never any wish to interfere in the political conditions of any other countries.

  • It has been so in other countries; I trust it may be so in this country.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

British Dictionary definitions for countries


noun plural -tries
  1. a territory distinguished by its people, culture, language, geography, etc
  2. an area of land distinguished by its political autonomy; state
  3. the people of a territory or statethe whole country rebelled
  4. an area associated with a particular personBurns country
    1. the part of the land that is away from cities or industrial areas; rural districts
    2. (as modifier)country cottage
    3. (in combination)a countryman
    Related adjective: pastoral, rural
  5. short for country music
  6. archaic a particular locality or district
  7. up country away from the coast or the capital
  8. one's native land or nation of citizenship
  9. the country British informal the outlying area or area furthest from the finish of a sports ground or racecourse
  10. (modifier) rough; uncouth; rusticcountry manners
  11. across country not keeping to roads, etc
  12. go to the country or appeal to the country mainly British to dissolve Parliament and hold an election
  13. unknown country an unfamiliar topic, place, matter, etc

Word Origin for country

C13: from Old French contrée, from Medieval Latin contrāta, literally: that which lies opposite, from Latin contrā opposite
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for countries



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper