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 Beneath, two Australian pearls add a soft counterbalance to the bright pops of color. Paige Reddinger, Robb Report, "13 Beautiful Pieces of High-End Jewelry to Treat Your Mom This Mother’s Day," 22 Apr. 2021 An affable post player, Zas had joined the team mainly to provide a counterbalance to Caltech’s grueling course load. Chris Ballard, Los Angeles Times, "The SoCal night Gregg Popovich’s Hall of Fame career nearly died before it began," 25 Mar. 2021 That would be an ethical good, a small counterbalance against the long record of racial injustice in US health care. Maryn Mckenna, Wired, "The Pandemic Can’t End While Wealthy Nations Hoard Shots," 9 Mar. 2021 Russell was a counterbalance when fellow guard Ricky Rubio spent his media sessions laying bare all that was wrong with the team following a string of blowout losses without Karl-Anthony Towns. Chris Hine, Star Tribune, "As losses pile up, D'Angelo Russell stays positive," 19 Jan. 2021 The broad diversity and counterbalance of sectors within the city’s economy explain why Nashville tends not to suffer as much as others during economic downturns. Bill Frist, Forbes, "Nashville Is The Health Services Capital – Here's Why This Explosively Growing Region Is More Than Music City USA," 12 Apr. 2021 These served as a counterbalance to every fear-sparking claim; an underlying reassurance that the testing could keep moving forward, and that there could be a happy resolution at the end of it all. Annika Neklason, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Press Made the Polio Vaccine Trials Into a Public Spectacle," 23 Mar. 2021 Critically, the torsion pendulum is very insensitive to forces from distant objects, which tug on the test mass and counterbalance together and thus do not induce rotation. Ben Brubaker, Scientific American, "Physicists Measure the Gravitational Force between the Smallest Masses Yet," 10 Mar. 2021 White House press secretary Jen Psaki had similar messaging about Saudi Arabia, which is a crucial counterbalance to Iranian influence in the Middle East, when asked about the lack of sanctions against the crown prince over the weekend. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "US focused on Saudi Arabia's 'future conduct' after intel report ties crown prince to Khashoggi death," 1 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb At the same time, Biden is attempting to keep the Saudis on his side as a strategic partner who can counterbalance Iran in the region. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "'What diplomacy looks like': Psaki defends lack of sanctions over Khashoggi," 28 Feb. 2021 Diversity, Painter said, means a wider variety of perspectives and experiences and fewer ingrained assumptions — which can counterbalance complacency. NBC News, "Madoff exploited weak oversight, but did regulators learn their lesson?," 14 Apr. 2021 To counterbalance any lack of a budget, Jungle Brothers utilize a deep collection of samples. Troy L. Smith, cleveland, "200 greatest hip-hop songs of all time," 13 Apr. 2021 While industrial development is increasing in most major markets, the amount of available industrial products remains inadequate to counterbalance inefficiencies in the supply chain. David Welch, Forbes, "Reverse Logistics: The Next Frontier Of The Last-Mile Race," 18 Mar. 2021 Too often these tried to counterbalance an all-white world by presenting all-Black settings. al, "Why Green Lantern’s ‘Far Sector’ rings true in Alabama," 26 Feb. 2021 The Biden administration, in an attempt to take a tougher stance against the kingdom while maintaining their alliance to counterbalance Iranian influence in the Middle East, have decided not to penalize the crown prince directly. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "Khashoggi's fiancee calls for MBS to be 'punished without delay'," 1 Mar. 2021 Doctors eventually switched him from an oral medication to an injectable immunosuppressant to counterbalance the hyperactivity of his immune system, which can lead to the inflammation associated with IBD. Evan Grant, Dallas News, "After Joe Palumbo’s 2020 health crisis, Rangers plan to start him slowly in ‘21," 21 Feb. 2021 Over the past 50 years, there has been a concerted effort to counterbalance this tendency. Helen Lewis, The Atlantic, "Isn’t She Good—For a Woman?," 10 Jan. 2021

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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Last Updated

29 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Counterbalance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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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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Nglish: Translation of counterbalance for Spanish Speakers

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