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



    BrE BrE//ˈkʌntri//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈkʌntri//
    (pl. countries)
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  1. 1  [countable] an area of land that has or used to have its own government and laws European countries leading industrial countries She didn't know what life in a foreign country would be like. It's good to meet people from different parts of the country. Which Word?country / state Country 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 English the state usually refers to one of the 50 states of the US, not to the government of the country as a whole.
  2. 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 people open/wooded, etc. country superb walking country Explore Thomas Hardy country. see also backcountry
  3. 3  the country [singular] the people of a country; the nation as a whole They have the support of most of the country. The rich benefited from the reforms, not the country as a whole. see also mother country, old country, up-country
  4. 4  the country [singular] any area outside towns and cities, with fields, woods, farms, etc. to live in the country We spent a pleasant day in the country. a country lane Synonymscountrylandscape 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.Patterns mountainous/​mountain/​wild/​rugged country/​landscape/​countryside/​terrain/​scenery beautiful/​glorious/​dramatic country/​landscape/​countryside/​scenery open country/​landscape/​countryside/​terrain/​land rolling country/​landscape/​countryside to protect the landscape/​countryside/​land CollocationsTown and countryTown live in a city/​a town/​an urban environment/(informal) a concrete jungle/​the suburbs/​shanty towns/​slums live (especially North American English) downtown/​in the downtown area/(British English) in the city centre enjoy/​like the hectic pace of life/​the hustle and bustle of city life cope with the stress/​pressure of urban life get caught up in the rat race prefer/​seek the anonymity of life in a big city be drawn by/​resist the lure of the big city head for the bright lights (of the big city/​New York) enjoy/​love the vibrant/​lively nightlife have/​be close to all the amenities be surrounded by towering skyscrapers/​a soulless urban sprawl use/​travel by/​rely on (British English) public transport/(North American English) public transportation put up with/​get stuck in/​sit in massive/​huge/​heavy/​endless/​constant traffic jams tackle/​ease/​reduce/​relieve/​alleviate the heavy/​severe traffic congestion be affected/​choked/​damaged by pollutionCountry live in a village/​the countryside/​an isolated area/​a rural backwater/(informal) the sticks enjoy/​like the relaxed/​slower pace of life enjoy/​love/​explore the great outdoors look for/​find/​get/​enjoy a little peace and quiet need/​want to get back/​closer to nature be surrounded by open/​unspoilt/​picturesque countryside escape/​quit/​get out of/​leave the rat race seek/​achieve a better/​healthy work-life balance downshift to a less stressful life seek/​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 community depend on/​be employed in/​work in agriculture live off/​farm/​work the land tackle/​address the problem of rural unemployment
  5. 5 [uncountable] = country and western pop, folk and country
  6. Word OriginMiddle English: from Old French cuntree, from medieval Latin contrata (terra) ‘(land) lying opposite’, from Latin contra ‘against, opposite’.Extra examples ‘It’s a free country!’ he shouted. ‘I can do what I like!’ All goods must be clearly labelled with their country of origin. He accused the government of leading the country to disaster. He cannot be deported to his country of origin. He loved his country deeply. He plans to travel the country by motorcycle. He travelled the country on his motorbike. I’m proud to serve my country. It’s difficult to live in a foreign country when you don’t speak the language. Many refugee servicemen gave their lives for their adopted country. New schools are being built throughout the country. OECD member countries Our country needs a leader like her. Over 30 countries participated in the Games. She lives in the country. She represented her country at the Beijing Olympics. The country exports around 80% of its output. The country is suffering from rising unemployment. The country was ruled by a brutal dictatorship. The former president has been forced to flee the country. The issue of the single currency has divided the country. The play has been enjoyed by audiences in this country and abroad for many years. The refugees do jobs that workers in the host country refuse to do. The rich benefited from the reforms, not the country as a whole. The town is surrounded by miles and miles of open country. The two countries signed a basic treaty of cooperation. There will be rain in many parts of the country tomorrow. They are holding special events all over the country. They drove across the country. This is just one of 30 sites around the country. This part of Africa is rich farming country. We must remember those who died defending their country. We operate in ten countries around the globe. What must it be like, to grow old in a strange country? Whole tracts of country, once fertile, have become arid. Years of civil war had ravaged the country. a beautiful stretch of country a commander who saved his country from invasion countries bordering the Black Sea economically advanced countries industrially backward countries new restrictions on goods entering the country people who live in this country students from overseas countries superb walking country the country of his birth the politicians who run the country this great country of ours I don’t really enjoy country life. I like going to different countries and meeting new people. It’s good to meet people from different parts of the country. She didn’t know what life in a foreign country would be like. Sugar is only produced in tropical countries. The country air should do you good. The house is at the end of a narrow country lane. There have often been disagreements between town and country. They drove along a remote country road. They tramped across miles of open country. We came to an area of wooded country. We need to improve the standards of education in this country. a little country town a typical country cottage with roses around the doorIdioms directly across fields, etc.; not by a main road riding across country see also cross-country (British English) (of a government) to hold an election to choose a new parliament (informal) used as a reply when somebody suggests that you should not do something It's a free country; I'll say what I like!
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: country