n. pl. coun·tries
a. A nation or state.
b. The territory of a nation or state; land.
c. The people of a nation or state; populace: The whole country will profit from the new economic reforms.
2. The land of a person's birth or citizenship: Foreign travel is restricted in his country.
3. A region, territory, or large tract of land distinguishable by features of topography, biology, or culture: hill country; Bible country.
4. An area or expanse outside cities and towns; a rural area: a vacation in the country.
a. The people of a district who are eligible for jury service.
b. A jury.
6. Informal Country music.
1. Of, relating to, or typical of the country: a country road; country cooking.
2. Of or relating to country music.
In a given country where military operations or other coordinated activities are ongoing: “He'd been in country a month longer than the other four” (Nelson DeMille).
[Middle English countre, from Old French contree, from Vulgar Latin *(terra) contrāta, (land) opposite, before, from Latin contrā, opposite; see kom in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.