Origin of counter

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



verb (used with object)

to encounter in opposition or combat.

Origin of counter

1250–1300; Middle English countren, aphetic variant of acountren < Middle French acontrer. See a-5, encounter
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for countering

Contemporary Examples of countering

Historical Examples of countering

  • They had evidently been watching and countering his every step.

    The Pit Prop Syndicate

    Freeman Wills Crofts

  • Interesting historically, but of no use whatsoever in countering the menace.


    Harry Harrison

  • The only other handweapon capable of countering it is another quarterstaff.

    Black Man's Burden

    Dallas McCord Reynolds

  • Then the idea of countering on this acuteness made him good tempered.

  • I struck at him and the sparks flew from his countering weapon.

    Port O' Gold

    Louis John Stellman

British Dictionary definitions for countering




a horizontal surface, as in a shop or bank, over which business is transacted
(in some cafeterias) a long table on which food is served to customers
  1. a small flat disc of wood, metal, or plastic, used in various board games
  2. a similar disc or token used as an imitation coin
a person or thing that may be used or manipulated
a skating figure consisting of three circles
under the counter (under-the-counter when prenominal) (of the sale of goods, esp goods in short supply) clandestine, surreptitious, or illegal; not in an open manner
over the counter (over-the-counter when prenominal) (of security transactions) through a broker rather than on a stock exchange

Word Origin for counter

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




in a contrary direction or manner
in a wrong or reverse direction
run counter to to have a contrary effect or action to


opposing; opposite; contrary


something that is contrary or opposite to some other thing
an act, effect, or force that opposes another
a return attack, such as a blow in boxing
fencing a parry in which the foils move in a circular fashion
the portion of the stern of a boat or ship that overhangs the water aft of the rudder
Also called: void printing the inside area of a typeface that is not type high, such as the centre of an "o", and therefore does not print
the part of a horse's breast under the neck and between the shoulders
a piece of leather forming the back of a shoe


to say or do (something) in retaliation or response
(tr) to move, act, or perform in a manner or direction opposite to (a person or thing)
to return the attack of (an opponent)

Word Origin for counter

C15: from Old French contre, from Latin contrā against




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
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 countering



mid-14c., "table where a money lender does business," from Old French contouer, comptoir (14c.) "counting room, table of a bank," from Medieval Latin computatorium "place of accounts," from Latin computatus, past participle of computare (see compute). Generalized 19c. from banks to shops, then extended to display cases for goods. Phrase under the counter is from 1926.



"go against," late 14c., from Old French countre "facing opposite" (see counter-). Related: Countered; countering. As an adverb, from mid-15c.; as an adjective, from 1590s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for countering




One that counts, especially an electronic or mechanical device that automatically counts occurrences or repetitions of phenomena or events.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with countering


see run counter to; under the counter.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.