countenance


1coun·te·nance

noun \ˈkan-tən-ən(t)s, ˈkant-nən(t)s\

: the appearance of a person's face : a person's expression

Full Definition of COUNTENANCE

1
obsolete :  bearing, demeanor
2
a :  calm expression
b :  mental composure
c :  look, expression
3
archaic
a :  aspect, semblance
b :  pretense
4
:  face, visage; especially :  the face as an indication of mood, emotion, or character
5
:  bearing or expression that offers approval or sanction :  moral support

Examples of COUNTENANCE

  1. The photograph showed his somber countenance.
  2. <a pleasant countenance that puts visitors at ease>
  3. … his white countenance was rendered eerie by the redness of the sagging lids below his eyes … —John Updike, The Afterlife, 1994

Origin of COUNTENANCE

Middle English contenance, from Anglo-French cuntenance, contenance, from Medieval Latin continentia, from Latin, restraint, from continent-, continens, present participle of continēre to hold together — more at contain
First Known Use: 13th century

2coun·te·nance

verb \ˈkan-tən-ən(t)s, ˈkant-nən(t)s\

: to accept, support, or approve of (something)

coun·te·nancedcoun·te·nanc·ing

Full Definition of COUNTENANCE

transitive verb
:  to extend approval or toleration to :  sanction <refused to countenance any changes in the policy>
coun·te·nanc·er noun

Examples of COUNTENANCE

  1. <I don't countenance such behavior in children of any age.>
  2. <countenanced the delays and inconveniences of traveling by air with good grace>
  3. But there are only two logical choices … . If you can't countenance the first, you have to accept the second. —Anna Quindlen, Newsweek, 6 Aug. 2007

Origin of COUNTENANCE

(see 1countenance)
First Known Use: 1568

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