- appearance, especially the look or expression of the face: a sad countenance.
- the face; visage.
- calm facial expression; composure.
- approval or favor; encouragement; moral support.
- Obsolete. bearing; behavior.
- to permit or tolerate: You should not have countenanced his rudeness.
- to approve, support, or encourage.
- out of countenance, visibly disconcerted; abashed: He was somewhat out of countenance at the prospect of an apology.
Origin of countenance
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for countenanced
But there is no way McCarthy would have countenanced failure.It’s Not Just the Vaccines. Jenny McCarthy’s New Book Offers More ‘Lessons’
April 28, 2014
This kind of petty bribery is, of course, abominable, and should never be countenanced.The Underdog
F. Hopkinson Smith
Divorce is not countenanced by opinion in Paris, though permitted by law.Tales And Novels, Volume 8 (of 10)
It is never the best method of fault correction, and should not be countenanced.The Etiquette of To-day
Edith B. Ordway
No "spoiling practices" should be countenanced in the case of nervous children.The Mother and Her Child
William S. Sadler
It does not appear that this absurd design was ever countenanced by the King.The History of England from the Accession of James II.
Thomas Babington Macaulay
- the face, esp when considered as expressing a person's character or mooda pleasant countenance
- support or encouragement; sanction
- composure; self-control (esp in the phrases keep or lose one's countenance; out of countenance)
- to support or encourage; sanction
- to tolerate; endure
Word Origin and History for countenanced
mid-13c., from Old French contenance "demeanor, bearing, conduct," from Latin continentia "restraint, abstemiousness, moderation," literally "way one contains oneself," from continentem, present participle of continere (see contain). Meaning evolving Middle English from "appearance" to "facial expression betraying a state of mind," to "face" itself (late 14c.).
late 15c., "to behave or act," from countenance (n.). Sense of "to favor, patronize" is from 1560s, from notion of "to look upon with sanction or smiles." Related: Countenanced; countenancing.