1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of the country.
2. Of or relating to people who live in the country: rural households.
3. Of or relating to farming; agricultural.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin rūrālis, from rūs, rūr-, country; see reuə- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: rural, bucolic, rustic, pastoral
These adjectives all mean of or typical of the country as distinguished from the city. Rural applies to sparsely settled or agricultural country: "I do love quiet, rural England" (George Meredith).
Bucolic is often used pejoratively or facetiously of country people or their manners: "The keenest of bucolic minds felt a whispering awe at the sight of the gentry" (George Eliot).
Rustic frequently suggests a lack of sophistication or elegance, but it may also connote artless and pleasing simplicity: "some rustic phrases which I had learned at the farmer's house" (Jonathan Swift).
The hiker slept in a charming, rustic cottage. Pastoral, which evokes the image of shepherds, sheep, and verdant countryside, suggests serenity: The train passed through pastoral landscapes.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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