- 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 for countenance on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for countenance
That kind of smart person cannot countenance the idea of obscurity as a fate.From Smarm To Snark, We’re All Soldiers In The War On Obscurity
December 7, 2013
The larger of the two government parties, Fine Gael, has said it will not countenance legal abortion in Ireland.When Pro-Life Means Death
November 16, 2012
His opponent in the American election, Mitt Romney, has at times seemed more willing to countenance a unilateral Israeli strike.Olmert Blasts Bibi on Iran, Relationship with Obama
November 6, 2012
I cannot countenance any more breathless, fanzine-style chronicling of her attire.First Lady Fashion Fatigue
November 5, 2012
He relied on manner, attitude, and countenance to represent a subject's legacy.Remembering Irving Penn
October 8, 2009
They were both silent for a few moments; and Eudora's countenance was troubled.
He gazed on the bright landscape, as if it had been the countenance of a friend.
Stern displeasure was visible in the countenance of the great sculptor.
"Dearest Philothea, I scarcely know his countenance," replied the maiden.
"His countenance and his voice troubled me, like the presence of evil," answered Philothea.
- 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 countenance
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.