coun·​ter·​force | \ ˈkau̇n-tər-ˌfȯrs How to pronounce counterforce (audio) \
variants: or counter-force
plural counterforces or counter-forces

Definition of counterforce

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a force that opposes another force The hands grip a series of holds or shuffle along an edge, while the feet provide a counterforce by pushing against the rock …— Don Graydon Everywhere, we are witnessing an almost mad race between resurgent nationalism, ethnic hatreds and the counter-force of potential prosperity and free exchange.— George Steiner Hideki Yukawa's theory suggested that by exchanging a particle with a particular mass, one could create a strong attractive counterforce that would bind protons to protons, protons to neutrons, and neutrons to neutrons.— Leon Lederman et al.


variants: or counter-force

Definition of counterforce (Entry 2 of 2)

: being or relating to military activity that is focused on reducing the fighting capability of the opponent's forces (as by destroying military bases or weapons) while attempting to minimize civilian casualties Targeting military facilities … is a counterforce strategy, aimed at destruction of an opponent's armed forces.— Richard Wolfson — compare countervalue

First Known Use of counterforce


1609, in the meaning defined above


1955, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of counterforce was in 1609

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Cite this Entry

“Counterforce.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jul. 2020.

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