coun·​ter·​ten·​or | \ ˈkau̇n-tər-ˌte-nər How to pronounce countertenor (audio) \

Definition of countertenor

: a tenor with an unusually high range (such as an alto range)

Examples of countertenor in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Luke Elmer, a dazzling countertenor from Texas, reinvented Giustino as an aw-shucks adolescent who grows up fast, helped by Amanda Lynn Bottoms as his lover, Leocasta. Los Angeles Times, 4 June 2022 The teachers were trying to treat me as a countertenor. New York Times, 27 May 2022 Though cutely portrayed as toadyish countertenor twins by Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen and Christopher Lowrey, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern struggle to serve much musical or dramatic purpose. New York Times, 15 May 2022 At the 2022 Grammy Awards in April, both Joni Mitchell and the countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo sported Pleats looks. Jessica Iredale, Town & Country, 7 Apr. 2022 As a countertenor -- the male voice with the highest range (think The Weeknd) -- Orliński's usual musical choices trend older, as in 18th century, 100 years before what some might call the golden age of opera. Alexandra Svokos, ABC News, 12 Jan. 2022 Throughout it all, Shamir’s angelic countertenor has remained a guiding light through albums and songs that embraced vulnerability and truth-telling. Washington Post, 26 Jan. 2022 His countertenor voice and phrasing—both mellifluous and frayed around the edges—convey anguish and hope. Marc Myers, WSJ, 12 Feb. 2022 The countertenor double feels like the kind of idea that gets embraced at a brainstorming session. New York Times, 24 Nov. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of countertenor

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for countertenor

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

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

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countertenor clef

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Last Updated

28 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Countertenor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jul. 2022.

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