verb (used with object)

to act or avail against with equal power, force, or effect; counteract.
to furnish an equivalent of or a compensation for; offset.
Archaic. to equal.

verb (used without object)

to be of equal force in opposition; avail.

Nearby words

  1. countertraction,
  2. countertrade,
  3. countertransference,
  4. counterturn,
  5. countertype,
  6. countervailing,
  7. countervailing duty,
  8. counterview,
  9. counterweigh,
  10. counterweight

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

Examples from the Web for countervail

British Dictionary definitions for countervail



(when intr, usually foll by against) to act or act against with equal power or force
(tr) to make up for; compensate; offset

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper