[ koun-ter-kuhl-cher ]
/ ˈkaʊn tərˌkʌl tʃər /
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the culture and lifestyle of those people, especially among the young, who reject or oppose the dominant values and behavior of society.
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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

Origin of counterculture

First recorded in 1965–70; counter- + culture

OTHER WORDS FROM counterculture

coun·ter·cul·tur·al, adjectivecoun·ter·cul·tur·ist, coun·ter·cul·tur·al·ist, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use counterculture in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for counterculture

/ (ˈkaʊntəˌkʌltʃə) /

an alternative culture, deliberately at variance with the social norm
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

Cultural definitions for counterculture


A protest movement by American youth that arose in the late 1960s and faded during the late 1970s. According to some, young people in the United States were forming a culture of their own, opposed to the culture of Middle America. (See hippies and Woodstock.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.