Meaning of COUNTER in English


I. count·er ˈkau̇ntə(r) noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English countour, from Middle French comptouer, comptoir, from Medieval Latin computatorium computing place, place of accounts, from Latin computatus (past participle of computare to compute) + -orium -ory — more at count


a. : an article used in reckoning ; especially : a piece (as of metal, ivory, wood, bone) used in keeping accounts and in playing games of chance

b. : one of a set of small objects (as disks or squares of wood, plastic, bone) with which a game (as a board game) is played

2. obsolete : a prison especially for debtors that is attached to a city court


a. : an imitation often in base metal of a coin

b. : token

c. : money in general or a particular coin

d. : a possession or attribute of value in bargaining

the Guam fortifications were intended as a bargaining counter in possible future negotiations — New Republic

to use sex as a counter rather than value it as either a means of self-expression or communication — Margaret Mead

: asset


a. : a table, shelf, or other level surface usually of a height convenient for a person standing before it and over which transactions may be conducted : a table, case, or shelf on which goods are displayed and over which payment for purchases is made : any article of business, store, or institutional furniture that separates clientele from personnel and over which transactions are made

b. : a long and somewhat narrow serving area flanked by a row of stools

eating at the counter rather than taking a table

: flat working space on the top of kitchen equipment or furnishings

5. : counterword

a cliché, a worn counter of a word, with its original meaning all effaced — Havelock Ellis

- over the counter

- under the counter

II. count·er noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English countere, countour, from Middle French conteor, from conter to count + -eor -or — more at count

: one that counts: as

a. : a worker who counts units of materials in process or finished products for purposes of inspection, record keeping, or distribution

b. : one that counts votes

c. : speed counter


(1) : an instrument for recording the number of repetitions of an operation (as the revolution of a shaft) or of things produced (as copies printed on a printing press)

(2) : a device, unit, or circuit in a business machine (as a cash register or bookkeeping machine) that automatically performs certain mathematical operations and records the results (as the automatic totaling of certain classes of figures entered in the machine or the counting of certain classes of operations performed on the machine)

e. : a device for detecting the passage of ionizing particles whose presence is recorded in the form of electrical impulses

f. : classifier 2

III. coun·ter verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English countren, partly short for encountren to encounter, partly from Middle French contre against, contrary — more at encounter

transitive verb


a. : to act or operate in opposition to : argue against : contend with or against : oppose , combat

countering the claim for damages

b. : check , offset , nullify

countering the trend towards decentralization

means to counter or neutralize an enemy's sea mines and torpedoes — New York Times


a. : to fight against : encounter in opposition : meet in combat

countering the foe valiantly

b. : to adduce in answer to another's contention

he countered that his warnings had been ignored

3. obsolete : to perform variations upon (a song or instrumental composition)

intransitive verb

1. : to meet attacks or arguments step by step with appropriate defensive or retaliatory steps

countering with surprise sallies against the besiegers

countering with appeals to other authorities

2. : to deliver a blow while receiving or parrying one (as in boxing)

he countered with his left

3. : to sing or counter or accompanying voice part to a principal melody

IV. coun·ter adverb

Etymology: Middle English countre, from Middle French contre, from Latin contra against, from Old Latin com with (whence Latin cum ) + -tra (comparative suffix) — more at com-

1. : in a direction contrary to the true or indicated course ; especially of hounds : so as to follow a trail in the wrong direction

2. : in a contrary or opposite trend or direction : to a different and especially a contrary or antagonistic result or effect — often used with go or run

moral obligations or interests which persistently go counter to our general pleasure-seeking tendencies — Joseph Margolis

V. coun·ter noun

( -s )

Etymology: 4,6 counter

1. : the direction opposite to that taken by the game in hunting

the hounds taking the counter

2. : the after portion of a boat from the waterline to the extreme outward swell or stern overhang — see ship illustration

3. : the breast of a horse


[Italian contro, from contro, preposition, against, variant of contra, from Latin]

a. : a circular parry in fencing in which the blade follows that of the opponent and meets it again where the former engagement was, diverting the point

b. : the act of giving a blow when receiving or parrying one (as in boxing) ; also : the blow so given

c. : a second diagonal tension member commonly having a turnbuckle and provided in certain panels of a truss where the stress in the main diagonal is subject to reversal under change of load


[short for counterfort ]

: a stiffener of leather, fiber, or other material shaped and skived to a soft edge and intended to give permanent form to a boot or shoe upper around the heel


[by shortening]

: countertenor

7. : contrary , opposite

promising the counter

believing the counter of what was said

8. : an agency, move, or force that offsets, checks, neutralizes, or otherwise acts in opposition : answer , rejoinder , parry , check , defense

this salutary counter to the baleful influence of our philosophical extremists — J.A.Mourant

the dramatic counter to an unexpected thrust — E.M.Lustgarten

a football formation used as a counter to an overshifted defense


a. : cross lode


[by shortening]

: countershaft


[by shortening]

: counterseal


a. : any of the areas in the faces of printing type that are less than type high and enclosed by the strokes of the letter — see type illustration

b. : the matching counterpart of a die (sense 6h(1)), usually of softer and less permanent material — called also force

11. : a 3-lobed school skating figure performed on either edge and either forward or backward in which the skater executes a turn at each junction of the three lobes against the natural rotation of the curve being skated and remains on the same edge throughout — compare rocker

VI. coun·ter adjective

Etymology: counter (IV)

1. : marked by or tending toward an opposite direction, motion, or effect : opposed , contrary :

a. : moving in an opposite direction

a ship slowed down by counter tides

b. : serving to answer, check, offset, or challenge the action of another (as an opponent) : retaliatory

a sally of the tongue may invite a counter sally of the fists — V.L.Parrington

the westward expansion of the southern slave power in search of unexhausted land, or the counter expansion of the free-soil movement — Ellen Semple

c. : given to or marked by opposition, hostility, or antipathy

from being current with his times and his fellow men he seemed to become counter — H.S.Canby

d. : situated opposite : lying opposite

and clambered halfway up the counter side — Alfred Tennyson

e. : nullifying, countermanding

counter orders from the colonel

2. : duplicate and serving as a tally or check

a counter list

Synonyms: see adverse

VII. coun·ter transitive verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: counter (V)

: to furnish with a counter

countering a shoe

VIII. counter noun

: a football play in which the ballcarrier goes in a direction opposite to the flow of play

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.