country cousin

Idioms & Phrases

country cousin

One whose lack of sophistication or rural ways may amuse or embarrass city dwellers. For example, The sightseeing guide geared his tour toward country cousins who had never been to a large city before. This term, which literally means "a cousin who lives in the country," has been used in this figurative way since the second half of the 1700s, although the idea is much older (such persons were stock figures of fun in Restoration comedies of the late 1600s and early 1700s).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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