phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

In country

Posted by Smokey Stover on April 07, 2010 at 13:34

In Reply to: In country posted by David FG on April 07, 2010 at 06:02:

: : : 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.")
: : SS

: I am sure that SS will forgive the terse appearance of my reply to his post, but one can't.

: 'Travelling in country over the weekend' means nothing to Rightpondians.


Nothing to forgive. I'm but a traveler looking for the truth, which as Baceceras confirms, is that the phrase in question almost certainly refers to the Vietnam War. In my view the phrase "in country" used as a modifier would generally be improved by a hyphen ("in-country"). In the example given, the phrase seems to be a normal prepositional phrase, rather than an attributive, so would seem to be better expressed as "in the country." "In country" can also mean "in a rural environment" or "in the hinterland," but coupled with "mission," points to Vietnam.