[verb koun-ter-mand, -mahnd, koun-ter-mand, -mahnd; noun koun-ter-mand, -mahnd]

verb (used with object)

to revoke or cancel (a command, order, etc.).
to recall or stop by a contrary order.


a command, order, etc., revoking a previous one.

Origin of countermand

1375–1425; late Middle English countermaunden < Anglo-French countermander < Middle French contremander, equivalent to contre- counter- + mander to command < Latin mandāre; see mandate
Related formscoun·ter·mand·a·ble, adjectiveun·coun·ter·mand·a·ble, adjectiveun·coun·ter·mand·ed, adjective

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

Related Words for countermand

revoke, reverse, recall, override, retract, repeal, retreat, rescind

Examples from the Web for countermand

Historical Examples of countermand

  • I told thee my reasons for not going in search of a letter of countermand.

    Clarissa, Volume 3 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • There is no power in France that can countermand the execution of a sentence of the law.

  • Washington received them courteously, but did not consent to countermand the march.

    Albert Gallatin

    John Austin Stevens

  • Marshall and Bradford yielded, and consented to countermand the order of rendezvous.

    Albert Gallatin

    John Austin Stevens

  • Fears of a countermand were said to have hastened their departure.

    Sir Walter Ralegh

    William Stebbing

British Dictionary definitions for countermand


verb (ˌkaʊntəˈmɑːnd) (tr)

to revoke or cancel (a command, order, etc)
to order (forces, etc) to return or retreat; recall

noun (ˈkaʊntəˌmɑːnd)

a command revoking another

Word Origin for countermand

C15: from Old French contremander, from contre- counter- + mander to command, from Latin mandāre; see mandate
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 countermand

early 15c., from Old French contremander "reverse an order or command" (13c.), from contre- "against" (see contra-) + mander, from Latin mandare "to order" (see mandate (n.)). Related: Countermanded; countermanding.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper