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

A year after the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr., and Bobby Kennedy, with the war in Vietnam raging, Woodstock was a counterbalance. CBS News, "Woodstock at 50, in the words, and music, of those who were there," 4 Aug. 2019 Coaches will push Thomas towards that more and more, especially since fellow safety Tony Jefferson, though better in the box than in space, is a versatile counterbalance. Andy Benoit,, "How Will Free-Agency Losses Impact Ravens’ Top Defense?," 15 July 2019 The group was seen by some in the AI community as an important counterbalance to large technology corporations that have snapped up talent and used their computing power and huge data hoards to leap ahead in the field. Dina Bassbloomberg, Los Angeles Times, "Microsoft to invest $1 billion in OpenAI," 22 July 2019 Will the Sixers and their ultra-big starting five provide a counterbalance to the Clips? Rohan Nadkarni,, "The Clippers Just Became the Best Team in Los Angeles, and Perhaps the NBA," 6 July 2019 Over the next 12 hours, the counterbalances are slowly degraded, and CLOCK and BMAL1 surge back. Quanta Magazine, "How the Body’s Trillions of Clocks Keep Time," 15 Sep. 2015 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But the resulting loss in livelihoods and wages eventually had an effect on the demand for the formal sector output, because there were no counterbalancing moves by the government. Jayati Ghosh, Quartz India, "While India was busy celebrating its “ease of doing business” ranking, its real economy tanked," 5 Aug. 2019 Director Jordan Roberts, who also adapted the screenplay from a short story by Robyn Joy Leff, takes an affectionate but formulaic approach, mixing earnest emotional beats with requisite comedic notes to counterbalance the melodrama. Geoff Berkshire,, "Review: Vera Farmiga elevates the silly, sweet dramedy ‘Burn Your Maps’," 20 June 2019 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

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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Statistics for counterbalance

Last Updated

13 Aug 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

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


not constant or steady

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