- 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 countenancing
What kind of a man would be countenancing a letter like that?Still Jim
Honor Willsie Morrow
I can't go on countenancing this thing, and not be a party to it morally and every other way.Jennie Gerhardt
This is the church, and her members are the men, whom you are countenancing amongst you.Popery! As it Was and as it Is
Is it because they tend to disorder in Government, as countenancing Rebellion, or Sedition?Leviathan
Mr. Gillman we believe to be too upright a man for countenancing any untruth.Narrative And Miscellaneous Papers
Thomas De Quincey
- 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 countenancing
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.