under-the-counter

[ uhn-der-thuh-koun-ter ]
/ ˈʌn dər ðəˈkaʊn tər /

adjective

(of merchandise) sold clandestinely.
illegal; unauthorized: under-the-counter payments.

Origin of under-the-counter

First recorded in 1945–50

Definition for under the counter (2 of 2)

counter

1
[ koun-ter ]
/ ˈkaʊn tər /

noun

a table or display case on which goods can be shown, business transacted, etc.
(in restaurants, luncheonettes, etc.) a long, narrow table with stools or chairs along one side for the patrons, behind which refreshments or meals are prepared and served.
a surface for the preparation of food in a kitchen, especially on a low cabinet.
anything used in keeping account, as a disk of metal or wood, used in some games, as checkers, for marking a player's position or for keeping score.
an imitation coin or token.
a coin; money.

Origin of counter

1
1300–50; Middle English countour < Anglo-French (Old French comptoir) < Medieval Latin computātorium place for computing, equivalent to Latin computā(re) to compute + -tōrium -tory2; cf. count1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for under the counter (1 of 3)

counter

1
/ (ˈkaʊntə) /

noun

Word Origin for counter

C14: from Old French comptouer, ultimately from Latin computāre to compute

British Dictionary definitions for under the counter (2 of 3)

Word Origin for counter

C15: from Old French contre, from Latin contrā against

British Dictionary definitions for under the counter (3 of 3)

counter

3
/ (ˈkaʊntə) /

noun

a person who counts
an apparatus that records the number of occurrences of events
any instrument for detecting or counting ionizing particles or photonsSee Geiger counter, scintillation counter, crystal counter
electronics another name for scaler (def. 2)

Word Origin for counter

C14: from Old French conteor, from Latin computātor; see count 1
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

Medicine definitions for under the counter

counter

[ kountər ]

n.

One that counts, especially an electronic or mechanical device that automatically counts occurrences or repetitions of phenomena or events.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with under the counter (1 of 2)

under the counter


Secretly, surreptitiously, as in I'm sure they're selling liquor to minors under the counter. This expression most often alludes to an illegal transaction, the counter being the flat-surfaced furnishing or table over which legal business is conducted. It was first recorded in 1926. Also see under the table.

Idioms and Phrases with under the counter (2 of 2)

counter


see run counter to; under the counter.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.