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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


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

Related Words

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

Examples from the Web for countervailing

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British Dictionary definitions for countervailing


  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

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 countervailing



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