[noun koun-ter-bal-uhns; verb koun-ter-bal-uhns]


a weight balancing another weight; an equal weight, power, or influence acting in opposition; counterpoise.

verb (used with or without object), coun·ter·bal·anced, coun·ter·bal·anc·ing.

to act against or oppose with an equal weight, force, or influence; offset.

Origin of counterbalance

First recorded in 1570–80; counter- + balance
Related formsun·coun·ter·bal·anced, adjective

Synonyms for counterbalance Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for counterbalance

Contemporary Examples of counterbalance

Historical Examples of counterbalance

  • In places our combined efforts could but just counterbalance the strength of the current.

    The Forest

    Stewart Edward White

  • Something must be done to counterbalance this certain loss to the Confederates.

    Charles Carleton Coffin

    William Elliot Griffis, D. D.

  • But the gift of life to the young is ever a counterbalance to every evil that is less than death.

    Fardorougha, The Miser

    William Carleton

  • We must allow it to counterbalance breaches of ordinary courtesy.

  • But if she works for me she will more than counterbalance the fact that I am a stranger to the town.

    The Day of Judgment

    Joseph Hocking

British Dictionary definitions for counterbalance


noun (ˈkaʊntəˌbæləns)

a weight or force that balances or offsets another

verb (ˌkaʊntəˈbæləns) (tr)

to act as a counterbalance
Also called: counterpoise
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 counterbalance

1570s, from counter- + balance (v.), in reference to scales. Figurative use dates from 1630s. As a noun, from c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper