coun·​ter·​of·​fen·​sive ˈkau̇n-tər-ə-ˌfen(t)-siv How to pronounce counteroffensive (audio)
: a large-scale military offensive undertaken by a force previously on the defensive

Example Sentences

They mounted a counteroffensive against the enemy. the army launched a counteroffensive at dawn
Recent Examples on the Web Moscow’s full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, 2022, soon stalled, and Ukraine launched a largely successful counteroffensive. Mstylav Chernov, The Christian Science Monitor, 7 Mar. 2023 Despite Ukraine’s successful counteroffensive in the fall, Russian forces now control roughly one-fifth of Ukrainian territory. Missy Ryan, Washington Post, 5 Mar. 2023 For the Ukrainians, planning their next counteroffensive is complicated by the fact that these operations are dependent on the delivery of Western equipment and, if that involves a new weapon system, that takes even more time. Liam Collins, The Conversation, 24 Feb. 2023 Bomb craters also scar the landscape in the region, which has become a focal point of the conflict after Ukraine’s successful counteroffensive in the south. Henry Austin, NBC News, 13 Jan. 2023 In the south, Ukrainian forces are engaged in a fierce counteroffensive in the Kherson region, which Russia seized in the first weeks of the war. Michael Schwirtz,, 2 Oct. 2022 What is the state of Ukraine's southern counteroffensive? Grayson Quay, The Week, 2 Aug. 2022 Analysts view it as a likely target for a potential Ukrainian counteroffensive. Lauren Tierney, Washington Post, 21 Feb. 2023 For months Russian troops occupied Kherson city, only to be pushed back in November by a counteroffensive. Steve Hendrix And Serhii Korolchuk, Anchorage Daily News, 9 Feb. 2023 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'counteroffensive.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1909, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of counteroffensive was in 1909

Dictionary Entries Near counteroffensive

Cite this Entry

“Counteroffensive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


coun·​ter·​of·​fen·​sive ˈkau̇nt-ə-rə-ˌfen(t)-siv How to pronounce counteroffensive (audio)
: a large-scale counterattack
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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