coun·​ter·​ten·​or ˈkau̇n-tər-ˌte-nər How to pronounce countertenor (audio)
: a tenor with an unusually high range (such as an alto range)

Examples of countertenor in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The first concert, June 28 at St. John’s United Methodist Church, will feature countertenor Jay Carter, one of Ray-Carter’s early fellow travelers. Patrick Neas, Kansas City Star, 21 June 2024 The work has a countertenor, who stands for the adult world, more or less, and a children’s chorus, which stands for idealism and righteousness. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 17 May 2024 Soloists include soprano Nola Richardson, countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, and tenor Thomas Cooley. Details: 7 p.m. today; First Congregational Church, Berkeley; $35-$95; Randy McMullen, The Mercury News, 20 Mar. 2024 Our movie is about Klaus Nomi, the German countertenor that became a cult figure in 1980s New York and died, far too soon, as one of the first victims of AIDS. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 Mar. 2024 See all Example Sentences for countertenor 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'countertenor.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English countretenour part balancing the tenor, from Middle French contreteneur, from contre- + teneur tenor

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of countertenor was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near countertenor

Cite this Entry

“Countertenor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


coun·​ter·​ten·​or ˈkau̇nt-ər-ˌten-ər How to pronounce countertenor (audio)
: a tenor with an unusually high range

More from Merriam-Webster on countertenor

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