Country

Etymology and usage

The word country has developed from the Latin contra meaning "against", used in the sense of "that which lies against, or opposite to, the view", i.e. the landscape spread out to the view. From this came the Late Latin term contrata, which became the modern Italian contrada. The term appears in Middle English from the 13th century, already in several different senses.[15]

In English the word has increasingly become associated with political divisions, so that one sense, associated with the indefinite article - "a country" - is now a synonym for state, or a former sovereign state, in the sense of sovereign territory.[16] Areas much smaller than a political state may be called by names such as the West Country in England, the Black Country (a heavily industrialized part of England), "Constable Country" (a part of East Anglia painted by John Constable), the "big country" (used in various contexts of the American West), "coal country" (used of parts of the US and elsewhere) and many other terms.[17]

The equivalent terms in French and Romance languages (pays and variants) have not carried the process of being identified with political sovereign states as far as the English "country", and in many European countries the words are used for sub-divisions of the national territory, as in the German Länder, as well as a less formal term for a sovereign state. France has very many "pays" that are officially recognised at some level, and are either natural regions, like the Pays de Bray, or reflect old political or economic unities, like the Pays de la Loire. At the same time Wales, the United States, and Brazil are also "pays" in everyday French speech.

A version of "country" can be found in the modern French language as contrée, based on the word cuntrée in Old French,[17] that is used similarly to the word "pays" to define regions and unities, but can also be used to describe a political state in some particular cases. The modern Italian contrada is a word with its meaning varying locally, but usually meaning a ward or similar small division of a town, or a village or hamlet in the countryside.

See also

References

  1. . Australasian Legal Information Institute. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/aia1901230/s22.html. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  2. . Australasian Legal Information Institute. http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/disp.pl/au/cases/cth/federal%5fct/1997/912.html. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  3. (PDF). United States Department of State. http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/84411.pdf. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  4. Rosenberg, Matt. . http://geography.about.com/cs/politicalgeog/a/statenation.htm. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  5. . Countryreports.org. http://www.countryreports.org/country.aspx?countryid=96&countryName=countryid=96&countryName=Greenland. Retrieved 2008-05-28.  . Central Intelligence Agency. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2078rank.html. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  6. . The Heritage Foundation. http://www.heritage.org/index/countries.cfm. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  7. . The Heritage Foundation. http://www.heritage.org/research/features/index/topten.cfm. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  8. (PDF). The Heritage Foundation. http://www.heritage.org/research/features/index/chapters/pdf/index2007_RegionA_Asia-Pacific.pdf. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  9. (PDF). University of Michigan. http://umich.edu/news/happy_08/HappyChart.pdf. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  10. http://www.mercer.com/costofliving
  11. . . Library of Congress. 2009-07-23. http://www.loc.gov/law/help/uk.php. Retrieved 2009-09-22. "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the collective name of four countries, England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The four separate countries were united under a single Parliament through a series of Acts of Union." 
  12. . . 10 Downing Street. 2003-01-10. http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page823. Retrieved 2009-09-22. "The United Kingdom is made up of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland." 
  13. . . Commonwealth Secretariat. 2009-09-22. http://www.thecommonwealth.org/YearbookInternal/139598/geography/. Retrieved 2009-09-22. "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) is a union of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland." 
  14. . . European Commission. 2009-06-29. http://europa.eu/youth/travelling_europe/index_uk_en.html. Retrieved 2009-09-22. "The United Kingdom is made up of four countries: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales." 
  15. John Simpson, Edmund Weiner, ed. . (1971 compact ed.). Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. . 
  16. OED, Country
  17. a b John Simpson, Edmund Weiner, ed. (1971 compact ed.). Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. .