[ koun-ter-veyl ]
/ ˌkaʊn tərˈveɪl /
Save This Word!
See synonyms for: countervail / countervailing on Thesaurus.com

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.



Were you ready for a quiz on this topic? Well, here it is! See how well you can differentiate between the uses of "was" vs. "were" in this quiz.
Question 1 of 7
“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

Meet Grammar Coach

Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar helpImprove Your Writing

Meet Grammar Coach

Improve Your Writing
Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar help

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

OTHER WORDS FROM countervail

un·coun·ter·vailed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for countervail

British Dictionary definitions for countervail

/ (ˌkaʊntəˈveɪl, ˈkaʊntəˌveɪl) /


(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