Țara, from Latin terra (earth or land), has the basic meaning of "land." (A related word, as I found in tracing my grandparents' genealogy, is Țaran or Țeran, the older term for "agricultor" or farmer -- a poor, peasant farmer, usually. I gather than it means someone who works the land or lives out in rural areas.). Incidentally, English, "land" and "country" can be synonyms.
And "țărână" is the word for dirt, soil, or tilled land. A traditional saying at funerals is "Să-i fie țărâna ușoară." = "Let the dirt/soil (above him) be light." (i.e., not heavy)
Funny thing is that we have the same word "țărână" in Ukrainian (in cyrillic, of course), though it usually refers not to a soil but to a field. Now I know where it comes from :)
Interesting! I remember that when I was a kid we had a beautifully illustrated book of Russian fairy tales and the word for describing a Russian empress or princess was "țarină" (with the accent on the i).
"Țarină" with the accent on the a is used to describe a cultivated field and also a dance:
The russian word "țarină" is feminine for "țar" which come from the latin word "Caesar".
Wow! Exactly the same expression in Serbian! "Neka je laka zemlja". Where "zemlja" can have many meaning, starting from country, land, soil and also if you write it with the capital Z than it means the planet Earth...
Very interesting connections we can find here :)
many thanks. I should have thought about it. but it was too easy. I always look for difficulty !I have no excuse because my first language is French and the second one is Spanish and to crown it all, I studied Latin during the 8 compulsory years between 11 and 19 .. I sure do feel ashamed !
It is a speculation, as many other etymons from our DEXes. There is no solid proof for that.