[ noun koun-ter-steyn; verb koun-ter-steyn ]
/ noun ˈkaʊn tərˌsteɪn; verb ˌkaʊn tərˈsteɪn /


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.

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

/ (ˈkaʊntəˌsteɪn) /

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

[ kountər-stān′ ]


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

Other words from counterstain

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