counter

1 of 7

noun (1)

count·​er ˈkau̇n-tər How to pronounce counter (audio)
1
: a piece (as of metal or plastic) used in reckoning or in games
2
: something of value in bargaining : asset
3
: a level surface (such as a table, shelf or display case) over which transactions are conducted or food is served or on which goods are displayed or work is conducted
jewelry counter
a lunch counter

counter

2 of 7

noun (2)

count·​er ˈkau̇n-tər How to pronounce counter (audio)
plural counters
: a person or thing that counts something
… I would just tell them I am a very fast counter. Judy Blume
especially : a device or process for indicating a number or amount
a counter that records how many times a website is visited
As they entered the main door on Fifth Avenue, the guard clicked off two numbers on his people counter. E. L. Konigsburg

counter

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verb

coun·​ter ˈkau̇n-tər How to pronounce counter (audio)
countered; countering ˈkau̇n-t(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce counter (audio)

transitive verb

1
a
: to act in opposition to : oppose
b
: offset, nullify
tried to counter the trend toward depersonalization
2
: to assert in answer
We countered that our warnings had been ignored.

intransitive verb

: to meet attacks or arguments with defensive or retaliatory steps

counter

4 of 7

adverb

coun·​ter ˈkau̇n-tər How to pronounce counter (audio)
1
: in an opposite or wrong direction
2
: to or toward a different or opposite direction, result, or effect
values that run counter to those of society

counter

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noun (3)

coun·​ter ˈkau̇n-tər How to pronounce counter (audio)
1
2
: the after portion of a boat from the waterline to the extreme outward swell or stern overhang
3
a
: the act of making an attack while parrying one (as in boxing)
also : a blow thus given in boxing
b
: an agency or force that offsets : check
4
: a stiffener to give permanent form to a boot or shoe upper around the heel
5
: an area within the face of a letter wholly or partly enclosed by strokes
6
: a football play in which the ballcarrier goes in a direction opposite to the movement of the play

counter

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adjective

coun·​ter ˈkau̇n-tər How to pronounce counter (audio)
1
: marked by or tending toward or in an opposite direction or effect
2
: given to or marked by opposition, hostility, or antipathy
3
: situated or lying opposite
the counter side
4
: recalling or ordering back by a superseding contrary order : countermanding
counter orders from the colonel

counter-

7 of 7

prefix

1
a
: contrary : opposite
counterclockwise
countermarch
b
: opposing : retaliatory
counterforce
counteroffensive
2
: complementary : corresponding
counterweight
counterpart
3
: duplicate : substitute
counterfoil
Phrases
over the counter
1
: in or through a broker's office rather than through a stock exchange
stock bought over the counter
2
: without a prescription
drugs available over the counter
under the counter
: by surreptitious means : in an illicit and private manner
workers being paid under the counter

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Example Sentences

Verb When they blamed him for the collapse of the bridge, he countered that his warnings about the bridge had been ignored. “I could say the same thing about you,” she countered. After she made her point, he could not counter with anything. Adjective was unprepared for such a strong counter campaign by opponents of the legislative bill

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Middle English countour, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin computatorium computing place, from Latin computare — see count entry 1

Noun (2)

Middle English, from Anglo-French cuntur, from cunter to count

Verb

Middle English countren, from Anglo-French cuntre against, opposite, from Latin contra; akin to Latin com- with, together — more at co-

Adverb

Middle English contre, from Anglo-French cuntre

Prefix

Middle English contre-, from Anglo-French, from cuntre

First Known Use

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Adverb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (3)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1582, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of counter was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near counter

Cite this Entry

“Counter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/counter. Accessed 4 Oct. 2022.

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Kids Definition

counter 1 of 6

noun

count·​er ˈkau̇n-tər How to pronounce counter (audio)
1
: a level surface usually higher than a table that is used especially for selling, serving food, displaying things, or working on
2
: a piece used in games or to find a total in adding

counter

2 of 6

noun

count·​er
1
: a person whose job is to determine a total
2
: a device for showing a number or amount

counter

3 of 6

verb

coun·​ter
ˈkau̇n-tər
countered; countering
1
: to say in response to something said
"I could say the same about you," he countered.
2
: to act in opposition to : oppose
She countered with a move that ended the game.

counter

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adverb

coun·​ter
: in another or opposite direction
He will always go counter to advice.

counter

5 of 6

noun

coun·​ter
: an answering or opposing force or blow

counter-

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prefix

1
: opposite
counterclockwise
2
: opposing
3
: like : matching
counterpart
4
: duplicate : substitute

Medical Definition

counter 1 of 2

noun

count·​er ˈkau̇nt-ər How to pronounce counter (audio)
: a level surface over which transactions are conducted or food is served or on which goods are displayed or work is conducted
a lunch counter

counter

2 of 2

noun

: one that counts
especially : a device for indicating a number or amount see geiger counter

Legal Definition

counter-

prefix

coun·​ter-
ˈkau̇n-tər
1
a
: contrary : opposite
counterletter
b
: opposing : retaliatory
counteraction
2
: complementary : corresponding
countersign
3
: duplicate : substitute
counterpart

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