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counterword

[koun-ter-wurd]
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noun
  1. a word, often of short-lived popularity, widely used as an almost meaningless, automatic response.
  2. a word that has come to be used with a meaning much less specific than that which it had originally, as swell, awful, or terrific.
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Origin of counterword

First recorded in 1670–80; counter1 + word
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for counterword

Historical Examples

  • Unhappily the black-artist has forgot the counterword, with which he might command this flood of sprites again to ebb.

    Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship and Travels, Vol. I (of 2)

    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


British Dictionary definitions for counterword

counterword

noun
  1. a word widely used in a sense much looser than its original meaning, such as tremendous or awful
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012