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[roo r-uh l] /ˈrʊər əl/
of, relating to, or characteristic of the country, country life, or country people; rustic:
rural tranquillity.
living in the country:
the rural population.
of or relating to agriculture:
rural economy.
a person who lives in a rural area.
Origin of rural
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English < Middle French < Latin rūrālis, equivalent to rūr- (stem of rūs) the country, rural land (akin to room) + -ālis -al1
Related forms
ruralism, noun
ruralist, ruralite, noun
rurally, adverb
ruralness, noun
nonrural, adjective
nonrurally, adverb
quasi-rural, adjective
quasi-rurally, adverb
semirural, adjective
semirurally, adverb
semiruralism, noun
unrural, adjective
unrurally, adverb
Can be confused
rural, suburban, urban (see synonym study at the current entry)
1. unsophisticated, rough. Rural and rustic are terms that refer to the country. Rural is the official term: rural education. It may be used subjectively, and usually in a favorable sense: the charm of rural life. Rustic, however, may have either favorable or unfavorable connotations. In a derogatory sense, it means provincial, boorish, or crude; in a favorable sense, it may suggest ruggedness or a homelike rural charm: rustic simplicity.
1. urban. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for rural
  • But because the rural poor use little fossil fuel, these mainly benefit middle-income and higher-earning urban types.
  • Cities are likely to feel the brunt of the growth as humans continue their migration from rural areas to urban.
  • Septic systems work well in rural and some suburban settings, where sewers are necessary in urban areas by today's standards.
  • Im lucky enough to live in a rural part of the country where local family run organic farming is the norm.
  • Even while you spurn them, they court you,-rural deities and others of every kind that frequent these mountains.
  • Most of the time, the rural crisis takes a back seat to more visible big-city troubles.
  • The city is rather rural and there are few opportunities outside of church and sports.
  • In more rural areas, for example, courses relate to agriculture.
  • At that price, third-world governments could buy millions and hand them out freely in rural villages.
  • Increased fertility, and thus larger families, could have been especially useful in the rural settlement's early history.
British Dictionary definitions for rural


of, relating to, or characteristic of the country or country life
living in or accustomed to the country
of, relating to, or associated with farming
Compare urban
Derived Forms
ruralism, noun
ruralist, noun
rurality, noun
rurally, adverb
Word Origin
C15: via Old French from Latin rūrālis, from rūs the country
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for rural

early 15c., from Old French rural (14c.), from Latin ruralis "of the countryside," from rus (genitive ruris) "open land, country," from PIE *reue- "to open; space" (see room (n.)).

In early examples, there is usually little or no difference between the meanings of rural and rustic, but in later use the tendency is to employ rural when the idea of locality (country scenes, etc.) is prominent, and rustic when there is a suggestion of the more primitive qualities or manners naturally attaching to country life. [OED]
Related: Rurally.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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