coun·​ter·​vail ˌkau̇n-tər-ˈvāl How to pronounce countervail (audio)
countervailed; countervailing; countervails

transitive verb

: to compensate for
archaic : equal, match
: to exert force against : counteract

intransitive verb

: to exert force against an opposing and often bad or harmful force or influence

Examples of countervail in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Across the town, there’s despair and creative destruction and all sorts of countervailing indicators. Josef Adalian, Vulture, 6 June 2023 But as the debt ceiling deadline nears, McCarthy may face countervailing pressure to compromise as well. Paul Kane, Washington Post, 24 May 2023 But if innovation is happening at speed, countervailing regulation is also gathering momentum. David Meyer, Fortune, 11 May 2023 And how do these countervailing forces shape personal identity? Julia M. Klein,, 23 Mar. 2023 Rivera Garza shifts between timelines, her middle-aged anguish a countervailing weight against the light of Liliana’s brief life. Hamilton Cain,, 2 Mar. 2023 One interesting countervailing trend is the fact that more and more paper money is going out into the world. IEEE Spectrum, 13 Oct. 2020 Conservatives must combine their valid defense of free markets with pragmatic, effective plans to countervail their failures. Terrence Keeley, National Review, 25 Jan. 2023 Which puts the onus on immunity, or sheer luck on the variant side, to countervail, which are gambles as well. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 15 Apr. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'countervail.' 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 countrevailen, from Anglo-French cuntrevaloir, from cuntre- counter- + valoir to be worth, from Latin valēre — more at wield

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of countervail was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near countervail

Cite this Entry

“Countervail.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2024.

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