mid-13c., "district, native land," from Old French contree, from Vulgar Latin *(terra) contrata "(land) lying opposite," or "(land) spread before one," from Latin contra "opposite, against" (see contra-). Sense narrowed 1520s to rural areas, as opposed to cities. Replaced Old English land. As an adjective from late 14c. First record of country-and-western music style is from 1942. Country club first recorded 1886. Country mile "a long way" is from 1915, American English.
Quite competent; reliable: He's a prettygood country ball player; gets his pitches over the plate •The phrase is meant as moderate yet distinct praise of a person who might not be as spectacular as a big-city performer