Even today, _____ have been living in the past

( ____ = habitants of rural areas)

Note- The inhabitants can be sophisticated or unsophisticated, literate or illiterate. They should just live in a non-urban place.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – tchrist
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 12:54

11 Answers 11


Similar and related to k1eran's answer, countryfolk would meet the criteria for being a closed compound, and carry the same effective meaning as country people in this context. Merriam-Webster and Collins attest it, though the latter as an open compound.

Edit: Some examples from around the web, showing the wide range of living situations covered and usage by country-folk, themselves:

I am directing all of my energies to the areas of the NC Foothills and the Northwest Blue Ridge Mountains. This area ranges in elevation from 800′ to over 5,000′ above sea level. The Foothills offer warmer temperatures, more precipitation, more opportunity for large farms, and have two federally designated American Vita-Cultural Areas for the growing wine industry. The Blue Ridge Mountain area offers longer range views, cooler temperatures, beautiful mountain peaks, and a thriving year-round vacation industry.

Please don’t hesitate using me or my website to find that very special piece of land in what we “Country Folk” call God’s Country! (from a real estate website)

We own that moonshine and we're sippin' on Bacardi
We showin' Vegas how we country folk party
What happens in the backwoods
Stays in the backwoods
(Crank it Up, Colt Ford)

Our 6ft 4in cicerone selected his prime favourite lamb chops, not cutlets, and steaks from young bullock carcasses which had not yet grown all their teeth. 'That's where we country-folk score in our small licensed slaughterer butchers.' She smiled contentedly. (How to Jug a Hare: The Telegraph Book of the Kitchen, 2015)

  • 1
    Countrysiders also works.
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 3:42

You could use ruralite. Per Oxford Dictionaries Online:

A person who lives in a rural area; a country-dweller.


A rustic is a person who lives in the country. It may or may not have the connotation of lacking sophistication, depending on the context, so supplying the right context should prevent any unintended slight.

See: definitions of "rustic"

  • This is an interesting one. While rustic does have one definition given commonly as "of or relating to the countryside; rural", it's other definition usually applies at the same time : simple; unsophisticated. I think it would be very risky to use "rustic" to mean "any rural person". The farmers who run high-tech farms in the country are not "rustic". Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 7:51
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    "A rustic is a person who lives in the country". Not true. A rustic is a person who has the simplicity, or charm typical of the countryside. Simply see the OED: "• having a simplicity and charm that is considered typical of the countryside: a party of Morris dancers decked out in rustic costume. • lacking the sophistication of the city; backward and provincial: you are a rustic halfwit."
    – Fattie
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 13:00
  • @JoeBlow2 I'm aware of the definition for the adjective. That was not the OP's question. dictionary.com has these definition entries for the noun: 6.a country person. 7.an unsophisticated country person. You'll' note that #6 would be redundant if it were the same as #7. Draw your own conclusions, as I did.
    – jaxter
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 16:01
  • @jaxter Would you edit your answer to include that citation please?
    – Tonepoet
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 17:08
  • @Tonepoet As requested...
    – jaxter
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 5:55

My addition: rural. Answer is in the question.

It's a bit of a cheat, but in English, we sometimes use an adjective to stand in place of a noun. Over time, the adjective takes over from the noun. The noun is implied, however, which means two words and makes my answer a cheat.


My nephew gets lost when he visits the big city, he's a rural.

Works in the OP's example, too.



a person who leads or prefers a quiet simple rural life
Collins English Dictionary


country people


people who live in the country.
They had an oddly knowing look, the way country people do in Ireland, the way they do everywhere. - O'Connor, Joe DESPERADOES Collins English Dictionary

Also ... Culchies

In Hiberno-English and Ulster-Scots dialects, culchie is a term sometimes used to describe a person from rural Ireland. It usually has a pejorative meaning, but since the late 20th century, the term has also been reclaimed by some who are proud of their rural origin [...] — Wikipedia

  • 1
    Well, if I wanted a double word answer, I could also have used rural inhabitants. I was looking for a single word answer. Is there one? Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 22:53
  • @KrishWadhwana country people is a single word in Collins. It is I believe a open compound word; don't think double word is standard term. See grammarly.com/handbook/mechanics/compound-words/3/…
    – k1eran
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 23:07
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    'Word' is ill-defined in English: country people is certainly a string of two orthographic words, but Collins is probably correct in considering it an open compound noun. Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 23:23
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    The thing is, culchie has different meanings depending on where you're from. Cityfolk would include people from towns; people in towns use the same word to refer only to people who are actually rural.
    – TRiG
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 10:34

I would suggest the word hillbilly, a term typically used in the eastern United States, but understood by everyone I know.

Sometimes considered derogatory, but a judge in Missouri ruled in 1960 that the term is not inherently offensive (page 8/9 of the linked PDF). While one ruling from 56 years ago isn't the best indicator of prevailing attitudes, it seems pretty close to what I've seen in practice.

We suggest that to refer to a person as a 'hillbilly,' or any other name, for that matter, might or might not be an insult, depending upon the meaning intended to be conveyed, the manner of utterance, and the place where the words are spoken.


An Ozark hillbilly is an individual who has learned the real luxury of doing without the entangling complications of things which the dependent and over-pressured city dweller is required to consider as necessities.


No, in Southern Missouri the appellation 'hillbilly' is not generally an insult or an indignity; it is an expression of envy.

(The rest of that case is rather entertaining, but beyond the scope of this answer.)

  • 1
    Love that you're citing a court document! I think you're right, too. Jeff Foxworthy sure made a career out of something similar. Nice one!
    – John
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 5:24
  • 4
    Interesting answer but it has the connotation of living "in the hills" i.e. Appalachia as this was it's original meaning. It has stretched a bit over time but it would be strange to call someone originating from Florida or the Carolina lowlands a 'hillbilly'. That would be a 'redneck' or a 'bubba'.
    – JimmyJames
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 16:48
  • @JimmyJames: Likewise strange for anyone living in the many rural areas between the Mississippi and the Pacific coast, or rural New Englanders.
    – jamesqf
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 5:38
  • 4
    I think that hillbilly has too much extra meaning. It doesn't just mean people who live in rural areas, it means a certain type of person, and a certain type of rural area. The farmers running station in outback Australia are rurals, but they are in no way hillbillys Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 7:47

You're possibly looking for


"relating to the pleasant aspects of the countryside and country life:

'the church is lovely for its bucolic setting'" - OED

(It's remarkable nobody else has suggested this so far; it's a basic word.)

As HotLicks accurately points out, any word meaning "relating to the non-urban areas" can be and often is used negatively. (Of course, many words are used inaccurately, since today language skills are very low.)


This would require additional context. Many American farmers, who live in very rural areas, have full technological connectivity in order to manage said farms. Satellites to plowing and watering, high speed connectivity to the commodity exchange for sales and trades.

Mennonites, Hutterites or Amish make a practice of being both rural and low tech.

The Acadians of the Louisiana Bayou country, very low tech.

I guess the least pejorative phrase without religious connotation would be "peasant".

  • 2
    But 'peasant' carries the connotations of being an agricultural worker and fairly poor, doesn't it? Which in the modern world leaves out a large number of prosperous to extremely wealthy people who live in the country because they like it.
    – jamesqf
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 4:27
  • Given the context statement originally asked: "Even today, _____ have been living in the past" I would stand by the answer. Luddites might be good, if not more pejorative. I would suggest that the "prosperous"don't really want to live in the past which is what the original question is driven around.
    – Dave
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 18:54
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    You might not consider 'peasant' to be derogatory and, really, it should not be. But if you're visiting the UK and start calling people 'peasants' you'll soon find yourself in trouble!
    – BoldBen
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 22:12
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    This answer contradicts itself. The idea of "peasants" running full technology farm is comedy :) Peasant means "a poor smallholder or agricultural labourer of low social status" Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 8:02

Arcadian is good and has history. http://faculty.cbu.ca/philosophy/arcadia/library8.htm http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/essay/joseph-lycett-the-pastoral-landscape-in-early-colonial-australia/ Other words used in Australia: Bush, Rural, Pastoralist, Country People. Battler is good but does not quite fit the question: " 'The average Australian's image of a battler does seem to be that of a Henry Lawson character: a bushie of the colonial era, complete with quart pot and swag, down on his luck but still resourceful and cheerful'." "Cattleman (Rockhampton) 'Young people are being forced from their country homes because of a lack of work... " "Bush week is a time when people from the country come to a city, originally when bush produce etc. was displayed; and it is also a celebration in a town or city of bush produce, activities, etc" "2006 Courier-Mail (Brisbane) 28 October (Etc Section): It still has an authentic country feel with wide shady verandas, a wood-burning fireplace for frosty nights, two double bedrooms with high wrought-iron beds and, much to the children's delight, a sleepout they were all to share on our visit." "In later use, such a collection of possessions carried by a worker on a rural station, a camper, or a traveller to the city from a country area; a bed-roll. First recorded in 1836. The Australian sense of swag" 1824 Australian (Sydney) 18 November: Let the currency lads and lasses turn Arcadian shepherds and shepherdesses if they choose.


Hick - an uneducated person from a small town or the country

Yokel - one of several derogatory terms referring to the stereotype of unsophisticated country people

Redneck - a derogatory term chiefly used for a rural poor white person of the Southern United States

  • +1. Someone had to say it. Why are we trying to label people if not to be derogatory?
    – Mazura
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 8:44
  • 1
    Unfortunately, the origin of most slang which eventually turns into canonical language is derogatory. e.g. 'The Big Bang' was supposed to describe how ridiculous the theory was. Now it's the only name it's known by.
    – GenericJam
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 14:34

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