coun·​ter·​bal·​ance | \ ˈkau̇n-tər-ˌba-lən(t)s How to pronounce counterbalance (audio) , ˌkau̇n-tər-ˈba- \

Definition of counterbalance

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a weight that balances another
2 : a force or influence that offsets or checks an opposing force


coun·​ter·​bal·​ance | \ ˌkau̇n-tər-ˈba-lən(t)s How to pronounce counterbalance (audio) , ˈkau̇n-tər-ˌba- \
counterbalanced; counterbalancing; counterbalances

Definition of counterbalance (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to oppose or balance with an equal weight or force
2 : to equip with counterbalances

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Examples of counterbalance in a Sentence

Noun charitable giving is usually a good counterbalance to the self-indulgent commercialism of the Christmas season Verb The author's wry humor counterbalances the book's serious subject matter. a hearty dinner might counterbalance missing lunch
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The tonearm needs to have an adjustable counterbalance to allow for fine-tuning so the stylus doesn't scratch the vinyl or skip out of the groove. Allen Foster,, "The best turntable of 2020," 4 Aug. 2020 The series crucializes Harley's relationship with Poison Ivy (Lake Bell), a world-weary counterbalance to Harley's all-exclamation-points-all-the-time mania. Darren Franich,, "Harley Quinn needs so many more seasons," 25 June 2020 The monument was dedicated in 1996 to memorialize the Richmond native and counterbalance statues dedicated to Confederate leaders., "George Floyd’s brother seeks UN’s help to fight racism in US," 17 June 2020 The permission to use informal methods poses something of a counterbalance to the over-all increase in procedural formality that the regulations prescribe. Jeannie Suk Gersen, The New Yorker, "How Concerning Are the Trump Administration’s New Title IX Regulations?," 16 May 2020 The tripod has a high-performance head with variable fluidity and a counterbalance setting for smooth tilts and pans, giving your footage a slick, professional look without needing a Hollywood budget. Popular Science, "Video tripods to lock down your perfect shot," 17 Apr. 2020 Those instincts worked as a productive counterbalance for a while. Esther Mobley,, "Founders of Scar of the Sea, a leading Santa Barbara County winery, end partnership," 13 Feb. 2020 The new council is expected to act as an internal West Wing counterbalance to health experts who want Trump to go slow in reopening the nation. Jonathan Lemire, Fortune, "Trump rules out Ivanka and Jared as he prepares to announce members of new panel to open U.S. economy," 14 Apr. 2020 But civil rights and pro-democracy groups are also sometimes dismissed by Mr. López Obrador, despite being among the few counterbalances to the rampant impunity in Mexico. New York Times, "The Firebrand Leftist Far Ahead in Mexico’s Presidential Polls," 29 June 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The county has adopted zoning rules that keep the area rural to help counterbalance urban development in Park City and Snyderville Basin. Leia Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Town of Hideout looks to renew Summit County annexation effort," 27 Aug. 2020 Tourism here is similarly diverse and ubiquitous, offering enough appeal to enough locals to help counterbalance the economic loss of millions of out-of-state travelers. Gregory Thomas,, "The best place to ride out coronavirus? Can’t beat California," 23 Aug. 2020 Retaining the other restrictions will help counterbalance the higher risk associated with bringing together students, the governor said. USA TODAY, "Mayflower II, Space Camp saved, Oglala Sioux Tribe: News from around our 50 states," 7 Aug. 2020 Three years after his death, his monument was erected in 1996 to counterbalance statues on the avenue filled with Virginian Confederate veterans. Christopher Brito, CBS News, ""White Lives Matter" spray-painted across Arthur Ashe statue in Virginia," 18 June 2020 The history of the kettlebell stretches all the way back to 18th-century Russia, where large round metal balls called girya were used to counterbalance crops to determine their weight. Popular Science, "The best kettlebells for intense home workouts," 15 June 2020 The short-term allure of free money is too strong if not counterbalanced with a clear and daunting case that greater liability would result later. David L. Bahnsen, National Review, "The Mortgage Forbearance in the CARES Act Is Seriously Flawed," 23 Apr. 2020 Hardest part of the job The love of being a firefighter is counterbalanced by high levels of stress. Dana Scott, azcentral, "Retired NFL players following their second dreams with Phoenix Fire Department," 11 May 2020 Amid the gloom there’s been some counterbalancing grace. al, "The epidemic and the arts: ‘a very different storm’," 8 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'counterbalance.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of counterbalance


circa 1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for counterbalance

Time Traveler

The first known use of counterbalance was circa 1611

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Statistics for counterbalance

Last Updated

14 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Counterbalance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for counterbalance


How to pronounce counterbalance (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of counterbalance

formal : to have an effect that is opposite but equal to (something) : to balance (something) by being opposite

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for counterbalance

Nglish: Translation of counterbalance for Spanish Speakers

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