Definition of country noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

Oxford3000

country

noun
ˈkʌntri
 
; ˈkʌntri
 
plural countries
 
1 [countable] an area of land that has or used to have its own government and lawsEuropean countriesleading industrial countriesShe didn't know what life in a foreign country would be like.It's good to meet people from different parts of the country.2 [uncountable] (often following an adjective) an area of land, especially with particular physical features, suitable for a particular purpose or connected with a particular person or peopleopen/wooded, etc. countrysuperb walking countryExplore Thomas Hardy country. see also backcountry3 the country [singular] the people of a country; the nation as a wholeThey have the support of most of the country.The rich benefited from the reforms, not the country as a whole. see also mother country, the old country, up-country4 the country [singular] any area outside towns and cities, with fields, woods, farms, etcto live in the countryWe spent a pleasant day in the country.a country lane5 [uncountable] = country and westernpop, folk and country
Idioms

across country

directly across fields, etc; not by a main road
riding across country see also cross-country

go to the country

(British English) (of a government) to hold an election to choose a new parliament
more at it's a free country at free adjective
Usage noteUsage note: Town and countryTownlive in a city/a town/an urban environment/(informal) a concrete jungle/the suburbs/shanty towns/slumslive (especially North American English) downtown/in the downtown area/(British English) in the city centreenjoy/like the hectic pace of life/the hustle and bustle of city lifecope with the stress/pressure of urban lifeget caught up in the rat raceprefer/seek the anonymity of life in a big citybe drawn by/resist the lure of the big cityhead for the bright lights (of the big city/New York)enjoy/love the vibrant/lively nightlifehave/be close to all the amenitiesbe surrounded by towering skyscrapers/a soulless urban sprawluse/travel by/rely on (British English) public transport/(North American English) public transportationput up with/get stuck in/sit in massive/huge/heavy/endless/constant traffic jamstackle/ease/reduce/relieve/alleviate the heavy/severe traffic congestionbe affected/choked/damaged by pollutionCountrylive in a village/the countryside/an isolated area/a rural backwater/(informal) the sticksenjoy/like the relaxed/slower pace of lifeenjoy/love/explore the great outdoorslook for/find/get/enjoy a little peace and quietneed/want to get back/closer to naturebe surrounded by open/unspoilt/picturesque countrysideescape/quit/get out of/leave the rat raceseek/achieve a better/healthy work-life balancedownshift to a less stressful lifeseek/start a new life in the country(British English, informal) up sticks/(North American English, informal) pull up stakes and move to/head for…create/build/foster a strong sense of communitydepend on/be employed in/work in agriculturelive off/farm/work the landtackle/address the problem of rural unemploymentUsage noteUsage note: countrylandscape countryside terrain land sceneryThese are all words for areas away from towns and cities, with fields, woods and farms.country (often the country) an area that is away from towns and cities, especially one with particular natural features:She lives in the country. an area of wooded countrylandscape everything that you can see when you look across a large area of land, especially in the country:This pattern of woods and fields is typical of the English landscape.countryside land outside towns and cities, with fields, woods and farms. Countryside is usually used when you are talking about the beauty or peacefulness of a country area:a little village in the French countryside.terrain (formal) land. Terrain is used when you are describing the natural features of an area, for example if it is rough, flat, etc:The truck bumped its way over the rough terrain.land (usually the land) the countryside; the way people live in the country as opposed to in towns and cities:Many younger people are leaving the land to find work in the cities.scenery the natural features of an area, such as mountains, valleys, rivers and forests, especially when these are attractive to look at:We stopped on the mountain pass to admire the scenery.mountainous/mountain/wild/rugged country/landscape/countryside/terrain/scenerybeautiful/glorious/dramatic country/landscape/countryside/sceneryopen country/landscape/countryside/terrain/landrolling country/landscape/countrysideto protect the landscape/countryside/landUsage noteUsage note: country / stateCountry is the most usual, neutral word for a geographical area that has or used to have its own government.State emphasizes the political organization of an area under an independent government. Especially in British English, it can also mean the government:the member states of the EU The state provides free education. In North American Englishthe state usually refers to one of the 50 states of the US, not to the government of the country as a whole.