over the counter

See synonyms for over the counter on Thesaurus.com
  1. not transacted through an organized securities exchange; directly to the buyer or from the seller: He sold his stocks over the counter.

  2. Pharmacology. without a doctor's prescription but within the law.

Origin of over the counter

First recorded in 1870–75

Words Nearby over the counter

Other definitions for over-the-counter (2 of 2)

[ oh-ver-thuh-koun-ter ]

  1. unlisted on or not part of an organized securities exchange: over-the-counter stocks; the over-the-counter market.Abbreviation: OTC

  2. Pharmacology. sold legally without a doctor's prescription: over-the-counter drugs.Abbreviation: OTC

Origin of over-the-counter

First recorded in 1920–25

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use over the counter in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for over-the-counter


    • (of securities) not listed or quoted on a stock exchange

    • (of a security market) dealing in such securities

    • (of security transactions) conducted through a broker's office directly between purchaser and seller and not on a stock exchange

  1. (of medicinal drugs) able to be sold without a prescription: Abbreviation: OTC Compare ortho- (def. 5)

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