coun·​ter·​bal·​ance | \ˈkau̇n-tər-ˌba-lən(t)s, 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, 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


charitable giving is usually a good counterbalance to the self-indulgent commercialism of the Christmas season


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

It was designed to be kind of a counterbalance to the Heritage Foundation, which is the big conservative think tank, still is, and just moved over there without any kind of portfolio or job description. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Republican fury about ‘bias’ on the internet is just a distraction, ThinkProgress founder Judd Legum says," 30 Aug. 2018 Opponents of Abe's policies have grabbed onto the emperor's statements as a counterbalance to the prime minister's push to revise Japan's war-renouncing constitution and build up its military. Fox News, "Japanese emperor tries to make amends for his father's war," 15 Aug. 2018 Rising buybacks this year have been a crucial counterbalance to the rising tide of stock-fund redemptions. Akane Otani, WSJ, "Record Buybacks Help Steady Wobbly Market," 10 May 2018 Yet in other ways, Turnbull is a counterbalance to Trump. Philip Rucker, Washington Post, "How Trump made up with Australia’s prime minister after a ‘most unpleasant call’," 22 Feb. 2018 Chinese leaders continue to see Russia as a vital counterbalance to the U.S. in Asia and elsewhere, analysts say, especially after the U.S. national security strategy labeled them as America’s top adversaries. Josh Chin, WSJ, "Russia and China Show Off Ties With Putin Visit," 8 June 2018 The alliance, which sees an attack on one member as an attack on all, was set up at the height of the Cold War, as a counterbalance to the Warsaw Pact between the Soviets and their satellite states. David Meyer, Fortune, "President Trump Reportedly Threatened to Pull the U.S. Out of NATO," 12 July 2018 The company is purchasing a controlling stake in Hinge, a seven-year-old company that has positioned itself as a counterbalance to the casual dating scene on Tinder, Match’s flagship product. Bloomberg, Fortune, "Tinder's Parent Company Is Buying an Anti-Tinder Dating App," 21 June 2018 While Maybach represents a fraction of Mercedes’s total deliveries, which last year amounted to 2.4 million vehicles, boosting sales of high-earning models is a necessary counterbalance to ballooning spending that’s weighing on earnings. Fortune, "Mercedes-Benz Aims at Billionaires With New Maybach Crossover," 24 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Perhaps the handful of kids who survived the disaster — and whose civil rights were so egregiously trampled on by their parents’ religious choices — will someday tell their stories to counterbalance this highly varnished tale. Julia Scheeres, New York Times, "An Audiobook Gives New Life to the Haunting Memoir of a Waco Survivor," 18 May 2018 Eurozone growth will need to be solid to counterbalance that. Richard Barley, WSJ, "The Battle of German Yields: Bill Gross vs. Eurozone Politics," 6 June 2018 Moments like that have been counterbalanced with occasional defensive lapses, some of which have led to goals. Jordan Culver, Pro Soccer USA, "Orlando City left back Mohamed El-Munir comfortable with versatile role," 10 July 2018 The majority of the band’s nearly three-hour performance on Saturday was dedicated to such vintage hits, counterbalanced with comedy bits, guest spots, gratuitous solos, and what can be best described as an extended karaoke segment. Drew Lazor,, "Foo Fighters go old school at the BB&T Pavilion on their Concrete and Gold tour," 8 July 2018 The gathering in Philadelphia in 1918 was the founding of the American Jewish Congress, intended to counterbalance the political dominance of the conservative German-Jewish elite at the time. Matt Campbell, kansascity, "New WWI museum exhibit looks at the American Jewish experience in the war," 29 June 2018 The Midrash makes a final point: the hatred of the wicked is counterbalanced by the love of the righteous. Rabbi Avi Weiss, Jewish Journal, "May we all be blessed with love that defies the rule," 25 June 2018 The Permian added four oil rigs, but that was counterbalanced by losses elsewhere. Jordan Blum, Houston Chronicle, "Permian grows while overall oil rig count stays flat," 18 May 2018 The better your ground game, the more dynamic your mobile QB becomes, especially if your offense is counterbalanced by a destructive defense. Andy Benoit,, "NFL Draft Needs: All 32 Teams," 25 Apr. 2018

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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Last Updated

19 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for counterbalance

The first known use of counterbalance was circa 1611

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More Definitions for counterbalance



English Language Learners Definition of counterbalance

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

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Comments on counterbalance

What made you want to look up counterbalance? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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