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See more synonyms for countervail on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object)
  1. to act or avail against with equal power, force, or effect; counteract.
  2. to furnish an equivalent of or a compensation for; offset.
  3. Archaic. to equal.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to be of equal force in opposition; avail.
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Origin of countervail

1350–1400; Middle English contrevailen < Anglo-French countrevail-, tonic stem (subjunctive) of countrevaloir to equal, be comparable to < Latin phrase contrā valēre to be of worth against (someone or something). See counter-, -valent
Related formsun·coun·ter·vailed, adjective

Synonyms for countervail

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for countervail

counterpoise, invalidate, neutralize, undo, nullify, counterbalance, counteract, balance

Examples from the Web for countervail

Historical Examples of countervail

  • In the case of Dryden there is nothing to countervail this presumption.

    The History of England from the Accession of James II.

    Thomas Babington Macaulay

  • You had, besides, on Virginia, sacred claims which nothing could countervail.

    Paul and Virginia

    Bernardin de Saint Pierre

  • If I thought of it at all, it was as the agent of a necessity which I could not countervail.


    W. Gilmore Simms

  • There are armed men enow to countervail all your efforts at escape.

    The Monastery

    Sir Walter Scott

  • No time was to be lost, and measures were immediately taken to countervail these designs.

British Dictionary definitions for countervail


  1. (when intr, usually foll by against) to act or act against with equal power or force
  2. (tr) to make up for; compensate; offset
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Word Origin for countervail

C14: from Old French contrevaloir, from Latin contrā valēre, from contrā against + valēre to be strong
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 countervail


late 14c., "to be worth as much as," also "to prevail against," from Anglo-French countrevaloir, Old French contrevaloir "to be effective against, be comparable to," from Latin phrase contra valere "to be worth against" (see contra- and valiant). Related: Countervailing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper