counter

1
[ koun-ter ]
/ ˈkaʊn tər /

noun

a table or display case on which goods can be shown, business transacted, etc.
(in restaurants, luncheonettes, etc.) a long, narrow table with stools or chairs along one side for the patrons, behind which refreshments or meals are prepared and served.
a surface for the preparation of food in a kitchen, especially on a low cabinet.
anything used in keeping account, as a disk of metal or wood, used in some games, as checkers, for marking a player's position or for keeping score.
an imitation coin or token.
a coin; money.

Nearby words

  1. countably additive function,
  2. countably compact set,
  3. countback,
  4. countdown,
  5. countenance,
  6. counter check,
  7. counter electromotive force,
  8. counter jumper,
  9. counter reformation,
  10. counter table

Idioms

    over the counter,
    1. (of the sale of stock) through a broker's office rather than through the stock exchange.
    2. (of the sale of merchandise) through a retail store rather than through a wholesaler.
    under the counter, in a clandestine manner, especially illegally: books sold under the counter.

Origin of counter

1
1300–50; Middle English countour < Anglo-French (Old French comptoir) < Medieval Latin computātorium place for computing, equivalent to Latin computā(re) to compute + -tōrium -tory2; cf. count1

counter

2
[ koun-ter ]
/ ˈkaʊn tər /

noun

a person who counts.
a device for counting revolutions of a wheel, items produced, etc.
Cards. card counter.
Computers. a storage register or program variable used to tally how often something of interest occurs.
Electronics. scaler(def 2).
Physics. any of various instruments for detecting ionizing radiation and for registering counts.

Origin of counter

2
1325–75; Middle English countour < Anglo-French (Old French conteor) ≪ Latin computātor, equivalent to computā(re) to compute + -tor -tor

Origin of counter

3
1400–50; late Middle English countre < Anglo-French co(u)ntre, cuntre, Old French contre < Latin contrā against. See counter-

counter

4
[ koun-ter ]
/ ˈkaʊn tər /

verb (used with object)

to encounter in opposition or combat.

Origin of counter

4
1250–1300; Middle English countren, aphetic variant of acountren < Middle French acontrer. See a-5, encounter

Origin of count

1
1275–1325; (v.) Middle English counten < Anglo-French c(o)unter, Old French conter < Latin computāre to compute; (noun) Middle English counte < Anglo-French c(o)unte, Old French conte < Late Latin computus calculation, reckoning, noun derivative of computāre

Related formshalf-count·ed, adjective

counter-

a combining form of counter3, used with the meanings “against,” “contrary,” “opposite,” “in opposition or response to” (countermand); “complementary,” “in reciprocation,” “corresponding,” “parallel” (counterfoil; counterbalance); “substitute,” “duplicate” (counterfeit).

Origin of counter-

Middle English countre-; see counter3

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for counter


British Dictionary definitions for counter

counter

1
/ (ˈkaʊntə) /

noun

Word Origin for counter

C14: from Old French comptouer, ultimately from Latin computāre to compute

Word Origin for counter

C15: from Old French contre, from Latin contrā against

noun

a person who counts
an apparatus that records the number of occurrences of events
any instrument for detecting or counting ionizing particles or photonsSee Geiger counter, scintillation counter, crystal counter
electronics another name for scaler (def. 2)

Word Origin for counter

C14: from Old French conteor, from Latin computātor; see count 1

counter-

prefix

against; opposite; contrarycounterattack
complementary; correspondingcounterfoil
duplicate or substitutecounterfeit

Word Origin for counter-

via Norman French from Latin contrā against, opposite; see contra-

count

1
/ (kaʊnt) /

verb

noun


Word Origin for count

C14: from Anglo-French counter, from Old French conter, from Latin computāre to calculate, compute

count

2
/ (kaʊnt) /

noun

a nobleman in any of various European countries having a rank corresponding to that of a British earl
any of various officials in the late Roman Empire and under various Germanic kings in the early Middle Ages
a man who has received an honour (papal knighthood) from the Pope in recognition of good deeds, achievements, etc
Derived Formscountship, noun

Word Origin for count

C16: from Old French conte, from Late Latin comes occupant of a state office, from Latin: overseer, associate, literally: one who goes with, from com- with + īre to go

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

Word Origin and History for counter
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for counter

counter

[ kountər ]

n.

One that counts, especially an electronic or mechanical device that automatically counts occurrences or repetitions of phenomena or events.

count

[ kount ]

v.

To name or list the units of a group or collection one by one in order to determine a total.

n.

The act of counting or calculating.
The totality of specific items in a particular sample.

counter-

pref.

Contrary; opposite; opposing:countertransport.
Corresponding; complementary:counterincision.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with counter

counter

see run counter to; under the counter.

count

In addition to the idioms beginning with count

  • count against
  • count down
  • count for
  • count in
  • count noses
  • count off
  • count on
  • count one's chickens before they hatch
  • count out
  • count to ten

also see:

  • down for the count
  • every minute counts
  • out for (the count)
  • stand up and be counted
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.