In Reply to: Re: In country posted by Smokey Stover on April 06, 2010 at 20:15:
: : Would you please define the phrase "in country" (I think it refers to a state of being in a foreign country... as in "they are in country on a mission")... and perhaps identify origin, part of speach,etc.; and please consider adding it to your alphabetical list of phrases. THANX!
: I've heard the phrase possibly three different ways, but not precisely the way it appears in your sentence. If they are on a mission in a specific country (i.e., nation), it should be "in the country." If they are in the hinterland, in the country as opposed to in the capital or in the cities, it should also read "in the country." If the phrase is used as a modifier (an in-country mission or in-country troops) it should be hyphenated for clarity. (In the example it means a specific foreign country, probably Vietnam or Afghanistan if the troops are American.) In British English (an interesting language with which I'm only slightly familiar), one can probably use it as an adjectival or adverbial phrase ("He said he would be travelling in country over the weekend.")
If you told me (an American born in 1960) that someone was "in country on a mission" I would assume you were talking about the Vietnam War. "In country" is very much slang used by Vietnam Veterans to refer to the state of being in the military and in Vietnam during the war, and to distinguish themselves from others, including veterans who served during the war but not in Vietnam itself.