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


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

But some proteins, including PER, serve as counterbalances. Quanta Magazine, "How the Body’s Trillions of Clocks Keep Time," 15 Sep. 2015 The new attractions provide a family-friendly counterbalance for Disney park visitors who aren’t headed to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Disney’s Pixar Pier marks first anniversary with opening of final attraction," 28 June 2019 This ground pangolin is the only species that regularly walks on hind legs, using its large tail as a counterbalance. Paul Hilton, National Geographic, "Poaching is sending the shy, elusive pangolin to its doom," 17 June 2019 Across Verona, a coalition of civic groups gathered as a counterbalance to the World Congress for Families. Colleen Barry, The Seattle Times, "Conservative congress on family sharply divides Italy," 31 Mar. 2019 Currently, the commission is effectively a technical counterbalance to the state firm to guarantee that Mexico maximizes its resources and that Pemex makes decisions based on technical grounds. Juan Montes, WSJ, "Mexico’s López Obrador to Halt Oil Auctions for Two Years," 22 Aug. 2018 That's important because China is the North's biggest economic partner and is an important political counterbalance to the United States. Fox News, "Korean leaders meet in Pyongyang for potentially tough talks," 18 Sep. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But that long and disturbing history of punishment was often counterbalanced by the voices of liberation — and many of the arguments that have been prioritized by the modern LGBTQ movement can be traced deep into the past. Michael Bronski, Time, "The Radical Woman Whose 19th Century Ideas Still Undergird the LGBTQ-Rights Movement," 25 June 2019 Its practitioners are always wrestling with—inspecting, questioning, counterbalancing—the impulse to let go and dance. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Hot Chip Hones the Meaning of ‘Ecstasy’," 25 June 2019 Powell expressed concern about Trump's escalating trade war in a speech earlier this month and indicated the central bank might reduce rates to counterbalance the negative effects of the trade fights. Anchorage Daily News, "Federal Reserve expresses concern about US economy, signals likely interest rate cut soon," 19 June 2019 Walk forward for as long as possible, keeping your torso upright and without leaning it to one side to counterbalance the weight. K. Aleisha Fetters, Outside Online, "The Beginner's Guide to Weight Lifting," 19 June 2019 Zwicker discovered that this chemical influx and efflux will exactly counterbalance each other when an active droplet reaches a certain volume, causing the droplet to stop growing. Quanta Magazine, "Dividing Droplets Could Explain Life’s Origin," 19 Jan. 2017 It was popularized most successfully by Nixon’s former television adviser, Roger Ailes, who went on to found Fox News, a network committed to counterbalancing that alleged slant. David Greenberg, WSJ, "A Half Century of ‘Liberal Media Bias’," 23 Aug. 2018 Such a candidate could counterbalance the large white majorities Republicans typically run up in small towns and rural areas, especially in the Panhandle. William A. Galston, WSJ, "Will Florida Take a Left Turn?," 11 Sep. 2018 This establishes a somewhat fanciful tone, which helps counterbalance the logic problems. Daryl H. Miller,, "Wearing a 'Red Speedo,' Lucas Hnath goes swimming with sharks," 18 May 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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Learn More about counterbalance

Statistics for counterbalance

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

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

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Comments on counterbalance

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