• synonyms


[noun, verb koun-ter-sahyn; verb koun-ter-sahyn]
  1. a sign used in reply to another sign.
  2. Military. a secret sign that must be given by authorized persons seeking admission through a guarded area.
  3. a signature added to another signature, especially for authentication.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to sign (a document that has been signed by someone else), especially in confirmation or authentication.
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Origin of countersign

1585–95; counter- + sign, modeled on Middle French contresigne, or its source, Old Italian contrasegno
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for countersigned

authorize, certify, corroborate, signature, confirm, sign, mark, watchword, seal, password

Examples from the Web for countersigned

Historical Examples of countersigned

  • My request was countersigned by Clotilde, and this was irresistible.

    Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 58, Number 360, October 1845


  • The ministers, one after another, countersigned the ordinances.

    Louis Philippe

    John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) Abbott

  • The whole was signed by the king's own hand and countersigned by the cardinal.

    Lord Montagu's Page

    G. P. R. James

  • This evidence was also taken down and signed and countersigned.

  • The decree was signed by Charles and countersigned by Aranda and then sent out.

    The Jesuits, 1534-1921

    Thomas J. Campbell

British Dictionary definitions for countersigned


verb (ˈkaʊntəˌsaɪn, ˌkaʊntəˈsaɪn)
  1. (tr) to sign (a document already signed by another)
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noun (ˈkaʊntəˌsaɪn)
  1. Also called: countersignature the signature so written
  2. a secret sign given in response to another sign
  3. mainly military a password
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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 countersigned



1590s, from Middle French contresigne, from contre- "against" (see contra-) + signe "sign" (see sign (n.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper