coun·​ter·​poise | \ ˈkau̇n-tər-ˌpȯiz How to pronounce counterpoise (audio) \
counterpoised; counterpoising; counterpoises

Definition of counterpoise

 (Entry 1 of 2)



Definition of counterpoise (Entry 2 of 2)

2 : an equivalent power or force acting in opposition
3 : a state of balance

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Examples of counterpoise in a Sentence

Verb her overall healthiness largely counterpoised the virulence of the infection Noun a musical piece with a counterpoise of loud and soft passages the happiness brought by a new baby was a timely counterpoise to the grief occasioned by a death in the family
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Conflicts of interest are objective situations that arise when a person’s financial interests can be counterpoised to their public responsibilities. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, 29 Nov. 2018

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

First Known Use of counterpoise


14th century, in the meaning defined above


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for counterpoise


Middle English countrepesen, from Anglo-French contrepeser, from cuntre- + peser to weigh — more at poise

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Time Traveler for counterpoise

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The first known use of counterpoise was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near counterpoise

counterpoint rhythm



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Cite this Entry

“Counterpoise.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on counterpoise

Britannica English: Translation of counterpoise for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about counterpoise


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