of, relating to, or characteristic of the country, country life, or country people; rustic: rural tranquillity.
living in the country: the rural population.
of or relating to agriculture: rural economy.


a person who lives in a rural area.

Origin of rural

1375–1425; late Middle English < Middle French < Latin rūrālis, equivalent to rūr- (stem of rūs) the country, rural land (akin to room) + -ālis -al1
Related formsru·ral·ism, nounru·ral·ist, ru·ral·ite, nounru·ral·ly, adverbru·ral·ness, nounnon·ru·ral, adjectivenon·ru·ral·ly, adverbqua·si-ru·ral, adjectivequa·si-ru·ral·ly, adverbsem·i·ru·ral, adjectivesem·i·ru·ral·ly, adverbsem·i·ru·ral·ism, nounun·ru·ral, adjectiveun·ru·ral·ly, adverb
Can be confusedrural suburban urban (see synonym study at the current entry)

Synonyms for rural

1. unsophisticated, rough. Rural and rustic are terms that refer to the country. Rural is the official term: rural education. It may be used subjectively, and usually in a favorable sense: the charm of rural life. Rustic, however, may have either favorable or unfavorable connotations. In a derogatory sense, it means provincial, boorish, or crude; in a favorable sense, it may suggest ruggedness or a homelike rural charm: rustic simplicity.

Antonyms for rural

1. urban. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for rural

Contemporary Examples of rural

Historical Examples of rural

  • To accept their nomination and stand as a Rural District Councillor!


    William J. Locke

  • Certainly these rural interiors would not satisfy everybody.

    The Roof of France

    Matilda Betham-Edwards

  • So the grocery was essentially a village club, and not a rural club.

  • WHEN do topers like to make a raid upon the rural districts?

  • So far it is exactly like the corner store of our rural districts.

    The Forest

    Stewart Edward White

British Dictionary definitions for rural



of, relating to, or characteristic of the country or country life
living in or accustomed to the country
of, relating to, or associated with farming
Compare urban
Derived Formsruralism, nounruralist, nounrurality, nounrurally, adverb

Word Origin for rural

C15: via Old French from Latin rūrālis, from rūs the country
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 rural

early 15c., from Old French rural (14c.), from Latin ruralis "of the countryside," from rus (genitive ruris) "open land, country," from PIE *reue- "to open; space" (see room (n.)).

In early examples, there is usually little or no difference between the meanings of rural and rustic, but in later use the tendency is to employ rural when the idea of locality (country scenes, etc.) is prominent, and rustic when there is a suggestion of the more primitive qualities or manners naturally attaching to country life. [OED]

Related: Rurally.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper