[noun koun-ter-steyn; verb koun-ter-steyn]Histology


a second stain of a different color applied to a microscopic specimen and used to color and contrast those parts not retaining the first stain.

verb (used with object)

to treat (a microscopic specimen) with a counterstain.

verb (used without object)

to become counterstained; take a counterstain.

Nearby words

  1. countershock,
  2. countersign,
  3. countersignature,
  4. countersink,
  5. counterspy,
  6. counterstamp,
  7. counterstatement,
  8. counterstroke,
  9. countersubject,
  10. countersue

Origin of counterstain

First recorded in 1890–95; counter- + stain Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for counterstain

British Dictionary definitions for counterstain


verb microscopy

to apply two or more stains in sequence to (a specimen to be examined), each of which colours a different tissue
(tr; usually passive) to apply (one of a series of stains) to a specimen to be examinedhaematoxylin is counterstained with eosin
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

Medicine definitions for counterstain




A stain of a contrasting color used to color the components in a microscopic specimen that are not made visible by the principal stain.
Related formscounter•stain′ v.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.