coun·​ter·​at·​tack ˈkau̇n-tər-ə-ˌtak How to pronounce counterattack (audio)
variants or counter-attack
plural counterattacks or counter-attacks
: an attack made in response to or in defense against an attack made by another
a series of attacks and counterattacks
Iraqi forces are advancing into the city of Fallujah, repelling a counter-attack by the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) on Tuesday …Jack Moore
counterattack verb, transitive + intransitive
or counter-attack
counterattacked or counter-attacked; counterattacking or counter-attacking
Syrian rebels including jihadists counter-attacked the army and its allies on Friday aiming to break a weeks-long siege on eastern Aleppo, insurgents said. Ellen Francis and Angus McDowall
counterattacker noun
or counter-attacker
plural counterattackers or counter-attackers
Finally, the big man, bleeding profusely, succeeded in throwing his counterattacker off him. Andrew M. Greeley

Examples of counterattack in a Sentence

suddenly the tide of battle turned, and the rebels, who had been falling back, made a furious counterattack
Recent Examples on the Web The industrialists had been blowing people up or dismembering them long before the anarchists launched their counterattacks. Steven Johnson, New York Times, 17 May 2024 In addition to the unpopularity of Israel’s counterattack in Gaza, the generational divide is impacted by history and perspective. Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times, 6 May 2024 The naked brawler blocks two more swings, then takes control of the weapon for herself, theatrically swinging it above her head before launching a counterattack that had bystanders jumping out of the way. Michael Ruiz, Fox News, 1 Mar. 2024 Lyman, a nondescript and sprawling railway hub in eastern Ukraine, was occupied for four months by invading Russian troops, and then liberated in October 2022 during a sweeping Ukrainian counterattack. Scott Peterson, The Christian Science Monitor, 23 Feb. 2024 Tens of thousands of Palestinians have died in the counterattacks leading to widespread demands for a cease-fire. Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press, 21 Feb. 2024 The Gaza Health Ministry has estimated 32,000 Palestinians have been killed following the counterattack by Israeli forces after Hamas, which runs Gaza, launched an attack on southern Israel last October. Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press, 30 Mar. 2024 The other cat ran into the hills, the cyclists said, while the four riders with Bergere mounted a counterattack to save her from the grips of the attacker's jaws, at that point around her face and exerting pressure. Dennis Romero, NBC News, 18 Mar. 2024 Though defending was now undoubtedly Porto’s priority, the team still looked dangerous on its occasional foray forward with Francisco Conceição testing Raya with a low shot after a swift counterattack. Matias Grez, CNN, 12 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'counterattack.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1800, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of counterattack was in 1800

Dictionary Entries Near counterattack

Cite this Entry

“Counterattack.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


: an attack made to counter an enemy's attack
counterattack verb

More from Merriam-Webster on counterattack

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