[ koun-ter-ahr-gyuh-muhnt ]
/ ˈkaʊn tərˌɑr gyə mənt /
Save This Word!

a contrasting, opposing, or refuting argument.
There are grammar debates that never die; and the ones highlighted in the questions in this quiz are sure to rile everyone up once again. Do you know how to answer the questions that cause some of the greatest grammar debates?
Question 1 of 7
Which sentence is correct?

Origin of counterargument

First recorded in 1860–65; counter- + argument
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does counterargument mean?

A counterargument is an argument that is issued in response to someone else’s argument to show that the original claim is somehow incorrect.

An argument, in this context, is a series of reasons used to make a claim. A counterargument is always a response—its point is to refute (prove wrong) the original argument. The term is most commonly used in formal contexts, like debates or courtroom settings, but it can also be used in informal contexts, like everyday discussions.

Example: The debate team worked diligently to prepare a counterargument that disproved their opponents’ stance.

Where does counterargument come from?

The first recorded use of counterargument in English comes from the 1860s (when it was hyphenated as counter-argument). The prefix counter- means “against” or “opposite.”

Counterarguments are most commonly found in legal settings and debates, when each opposing side delivers a reasoned argument in favor of their point of view and then tries to disprove their opponent’s claims. For example, in a criminal trial, the prosecution first presents evidence in an attempt to prove that someone committed a crime. The defense then offers a counterargument in an attempt to persuade the jury that the person did not commit the crime.

Counterarguments typically occur when there are at least two opposing sides, but you can make a counterargument against yourself. Writing intended to be persuasive sometimes includes a counterargument to the main argument to show that the author has considered other points of view.

Did you know ... ?

What are some synonyms for counterargument?

What are some words that share a root or word element with counterargument?


What are some words that often get used in discussing counterargument?


How is counterargument used in real life?

Counterarguments are usually used to show a different point of view or the flip side of an argument.


Try using counterargument!

Which of the following statements is a counterargument to the (correct) argument that ranch dressing is the best salad dressing?

A. No, it’s not.
B. Ranch dressing is normally white, and French dressing is typically an orange color.
C. Ranch dressing can be poured on salad or used for dipping.
D. Balsamic vinaigrette is the best dressing because it is healthier than ranch dressing and has a better flavor.

How to use counterargument in a sentence