• Settlers trading with the Indians—bartering casting counters and other trade goods for furs. (Conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.)
    Settlers trading with the Indians—bartering casting counters and other trade goods for furs. (Conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.)
  • WordNet 3.6
    • adj counter indicating opposition or resistance
    • adv counter in the opposite direction "run counter"
    • v counter speak in response "He countered with some very persuasive arguments"
    • v counter act in advance of; deal with ahead of time
    • n counter a return punch (especially by a boxer)
    • n counter a piece of furniture that stands at the side of a dining room; has shelves and drawers
    • n counter table consisting of a horizontal surface over which business is transacted
    • n counter a calculator that keeps a record of the number of times something happens
    • n counter a piece of leather forming the back of a shoe or boot "a counter may be used to stiffen the material around the heel and to give support to the foot"
    • n counter game equipment (as a piece of wood, plastic, or ivory) used for keeping a count or reserving a space in various card or board games
    • n counter (computer science) a register whose contents go through a regular series of states (usually states indicating consecutive integers)
    • n counter a quick reply to a question or remark (especially a witty or critical one) "it brought a sharp rejoinder from the teacher"
    • n counter a person who counts things
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

Brass casting counters excavated on Jamestown Island. Many were made in Germany before 1575 for use by merchants on counting boards. In the New World they were used for the Indian trade Brass casting counters excavated on Jamestown Island. Many were made in Germany before 1575 for use by merchants on...
at the counter at the counter
William behind the shop counter, talking to the girl William behind the shop counter, talking to the girl

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Frog-eating bats identify edible frogs from poisonous ones by listening to the mating calls of male frogs. Frogs counter this by hiding and using short, difficult to locate calls
    • Counter A piece of metal, ivory, wood, or bone, used in reckoning, in keeping account of games, etc. "The old gods of our own race whose names . . . serve as counters reckon the days of the week.""What comes the wool to? . . . I can not do it without counters ."
    • Counter A prison; either of two prisons formerly in London. "Anne Aysavugh . . . imprisoned in the Counter ."
    • n Counter A table or board on which money is counted and over which business is transacted; a long, narrow table or bench, on which goods are laid for examination by purchasers, or on which they are weighed or measured.
    • Counter A telltale; a contrivance attached to an engine, printing press, or other machine, for the purpose of counting the revolutions or the pulsations.
    • n Counter An encounter. "With kindly counter under mimic shade."
    • Counter At or against the front or face. "Which [darts] they never throw counter , but at the back of the flier."
    • Counter Contrary; in opposition; in an opposite direction; contrariwise; -- used chiefly with run or go. "Running counter to all the rules of virtue."
    • a Counter Contrary; opposite; contrasted; opposed; adverse; antagonistic; as, a counter current; a counter revolution; a counter poison; a counter agent; counter fugue. "Innumerable facts attesting the counter principle."
    • Counter In the wrong way; contrary to the right course; as, a hound that runs counter . "This is counter , you false Danish dogs!"
    • Counter Money; coin; -- used in contempt. "To lock such rascal counters from his friends."
    • Counter One who counts, or reckons up; a calculator; a reckoner.
    • Counter (Mus) Same as Contra. Formerly used to designate any under part which served for contrast to a principal part, but now used as equivalent to counter tenor.
    • Counter (Naut) The after part of a vessel's body, from the water line to the stern, -- below and somewhat forward of the stern proper.
    • Counter The back leather or heel part of a boot.
    • Counter (Far) The breast, or that part of a horse between the shoulders and under the neck.
    • v. i Counter (Boxing) To return a blow while receiving one, as in boxing. "His left hand countered provokingly."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: There have been close to 200 coups and counter-coups in the country of Bolivia
    • n counter One who counts or reckons; a computer; an auditor.
    • n counter An apparatus for keeping count of revolutions or other movements.
    • n counter A thing used in counting; that which indicates a number; that which is used to keep an account or reckoning, as in games; specifically, a piece of metal, ivory, wood, or other material, or a spurious or imitation coin, used for this purpose.
    • n counter A piece of money; a coin; in plural, money.
    • n counter In early English law, an attorney or serjeant at law retained to conduct a cause in court.
    • n counter A counting-room.
    • n counter A table or board on which money is counted; a table in a shop on which goods are laid for examination by purchasers.
    • n counter Formerly, in England, a debtors' prison: used especially as the name of two prisons for debtors in the City of London, and of one in Southwark.
    • counter Contrary; in opposition; in an opposite direction: used chiefly with run or go: as, to run counter to the rules of virtue; he went counter to his own interest.
    • counter In the wrong way; contrary to the right course; in the reverse direction; contrariwise.
    • counter Directly in front; in or at the face.
    • counter Adverse; opposite; contrary; opposing; antagonistic.
    • counter Against; contrary or antagonistic to.
    • n counter That which is counter or antagonistic; an opposite.
    • n counter In music, any voice-part set in contrast to a principal melody or part; specifically, the counter-tenor; the high tenor or alto. Sometimes this part is sung an octave higher than it is written, thus becoming a high soprano.
    • n counter That part of a horse's breast which lies between the shoulders and under the neck.
    • n counter That part of a ship which lies between the water-line and the knuckle of the stern. The counter-timbers are short timbers in the stern, used to strengthen the counter.
    • n counter The stiff leather forming the back part of a shoe or boot surrounding the heel of the wearer. See cut under boot.
    • n counter In fencing, a parry in which the sword's point makes a complete curve, returning to its original position. The various counters are named with reference to the thrust to be parried, as the counter of carte, of tierce, etc.
    • n counter Same as counter-lode.
    • counter In boxing, to give a return blow while receiving or parrying the blow of an antagonist.
    • counter In boxing, to meet or return by a counter-blow: as, to counter a blow.
    • counter In shoemaking, to put a counter upon; furnish with a counter: as, to counter a shoe.
    • counter To come against; meet; encounter.
    • counter To come into collision; encounter.
    • n counter A meeting; an encounter.
    • n counter A prefix of Latin origin, being a doublet of contra-, and appearing in words of Middle English origin, or in later words formed on the analogy of such. Considered merely as an English prefix, counter- is to be referred to counter, adverb, or counter, adjective See counter.
    • n counter The representative of the engineer-in-chief of a canal or similar public work, having special charge of the recording of quantities of excavation, embankment, or masonry.
    • n counter The depressed part of the face of a coin, modal, or printing-type that gives relief and contrast to the raised part of the design.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: In 1865 opium was grown in the state of Virginia and a product was distilled from it that yielded 4 percent morphine. In 1867 it was grown in Tennessee: six years later it was cultivated in Kentucky. During these years opium, marijuana and cocaine could be purchased legally over the counter from any druggist.
    • ns Counter he who or that which counts: that which indicates a number: a piece of metal, &c., used in reckoning: a table on which money is counted or goods laid
    • adv Counter kown′tėr against: in opposition
    • adj Counter contrary: opposite
    • n Counter that which is counter of opposite: : :
    • n Counter one who or that which counteracts
    • n Counter the lee-brace of the fore-topsail-yard
    • v.t Counter to drive back by such
    • n Counter that which destroys the effects of another charm
    • n Counter a marching backward or in a direction different from a former one:
    • n Counter a plot or stratagem opposed to another plot
    • n Counter an equally heavy weight in the other scale
    • v.t Counter to work in opposition to
    • n Counter kown′tėr (Spens.) encounter
    • v.t Counter to encounter: to contradict
    • n Counter (mus.) the voice-part set in immediate contrast with the air
    • n Counter (fencing) a parry in which one foil follows the other in a small circle: the part of a horse's breast between the shoulders and under the neck
    • n Counter (naut.) the part of a ship between the water-line and the knuckle of the stern
    • n Counter (mil.) an evolution by which a body of men change front, and still retain the same men in the front rank: change of measures
    • ***


  • Thomas H. Huxley
    “Books are the money of Literature, but only the counters of Science.”
  • Guy Debord
    Guy Debord
    “Boredom is always counter-revolutionary. Always.”
  • Grace Speare
    Grace Speare
    “For every force, there is a counter force. For every negative there is a positive. For every action there is a reaction. For every cause there is an effect.”
  • Ignazio Silone
    Ignazio Silone
    “Fascism was a counter-revolution against a revolution that never took place.”
  • Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
    “In comradeship is danger countered best.”
  • Denis Diderot
    “The decisions of law courts should never be printed: in the long run, they form a counter authority to the law.”


Bean counter - A bean counter is an accountant.
Over the counter - Medicines and drugs that can be sold without a doctor's prescription are sold over the counter.


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. countour, OF. contouer, comptouer, F. comptoir, LL. computatorium, prop., a computing place, place of accounts, fr. L. computare,. See Count (v. t.)


In literature:

As was expected, the Turks counter-attacked heavily last night but were unable to drive us out except in one small section on our right.
"Gallipoli Diary, Volume 2" by Ian Hamilton
The main battle positions are still safe, and a counter-attack is being arranged.
"Pushed and the Return Push" by George Herbert Fosdike Nichols, (AKA Quex)
This counter move was successful.
"New York Times Current History; The European War, Vol 2, No. 5, August, 1915" by Various
So on October sixteenth this company found itself single-handed holding the advanced position against the counter-attack of the reinforced Reds.
"The History of the American Expedition Fighting the Bolsheviki" by Joel R. Moore
A man sat at the counter, a man she had never seen before.
"Laramie Holds the Range" by Frank H. Spearman
It was in vain that James urged his nobles to follow him in a counter-invasion.
"History of the English People" by John Richard Green
It was quite five minutes before she tripped up the counter and greeted her little friend.
"Adventures in Toyland" by Edith King Hall
I found sage wisdom in the counter-boy.
"Nights in London" by Thomas Burke
The dimly lit store, with its traffic counter deserted, and its shelves sadly depleted of trade.
"The Heart of Unaga" by Ridgwell Cullum
Unfortunately, if they send more than we can counter, we get wiped out.
"Talents, Incorporated" by William Fitzgerald Jenkins

In poetry:

Then come who pine for peace or pleasure
Away from counter, court, or school,
Spend here your measure of time and treasure
And taste the treats of Penmaen Pool.
"Penmaen Pool" by Gerard Manley Hopkins
If kindred humours e'er would make
My spirit droop for drooping's sake,
From Fancy following in thy wake,
Bright ship of heaven!
A counter impulse let me take
And be forgiven.
"A Night Thought" by William Wordsworth
But how could human courage meet
That icy flood? All, all in vain
Our counter charge; in slow retreat
We crossed the tumbled heaps of slain,
With grave-pits yawning at our feet!
"An Incident Of War" by Maurice Thompson
At ten o'clock brave General Stewart made a counter-attack,
Resolved to turn the enemy on a diferent track;
And he ordered his men to form a hollow square,
Placing the Guards in the front, and teeing them to prepare.
"The Battle of Abu Klea" by William Topaz McGonagall
your honour was troubled: when you wondered—'No'.
I hear. I think I hear. Now full craze down
across our continent
all storms since you gave in, on my pup-tent.
I have of blast & counter to remercy you
for hurling me downtown.
"Dream Song 42: O journeyer, deaf in the mould, insane" by John Berryman
How, the Fourth of last July,
When you got a little high,
You went back to Wilson's counter when you thought he wasn't nigh?
How he heard some specie chink,
And was on you in a wink,
And you promised if he'd hush it that you never more would drink?
"Johnny Rich" by William McKendree Carleton

In news:

Hoshizaki America's HNC Series is a stainless steel refrigerated counter top display case that is ideal for food display.
Oral thin films have evolved to provide systemic delivery of active pharmaceutical ingredients for over-the-counter and soon, prescription drugs.
Romney counters that the incumbent Democrat already has raided the Medicare fund and weakened the system.
A police officer enters, removes his hat and leaves it unattended as he walks to the counter to order some food.
The super-friendly woman behind the counter at Regency Cleaners is named Jenny Kang.
LEESHA QUIGG LIFE IN THE BALANCE: A small child's brightly colored dress is countered by the formidable presence of an American soldier in Quigg's image from an Iraqi school yard.
Could asteroid dust counter climate change on Earth.
A debate has erupted in the State Department over whether the United States should counter a recent decision by the Israeli Cabinet that would require most Jews who leave the Soviet Union to settle in Israel.
The Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project.
California 's top education official sought to counter federal criticism of the state's reluctance to use student test scores to evaluate teachers.
Two men attempting to rob a Pleasanton bank branch Tuesday made off with nothing after one jumped over the counter and found the cash drawers empty, police said.
The Food and Drug Administration is warning patients about a potential mix-up between powerful prescription pain drugs and common over-the-counter medications like Excedrin and Gas-X made at a Novartis manufacturing plant.
Taste Our Goods, a new lunch counter inside Bob Sparrow's butcher and grocery store in Kerrytown, is a collaboration between Sparrow and two recent U-M graduates, Suzanne Lipton and Nora Feldhusen.
ABC's of Metabolife Diet pill maker Metabolife counters an ABC News report with an Internet ad campaign 10.19.99.
Unhealthy sexual messages in media can be countered through frank discussion.

In science:

Counter intuition, the Hall effect is strongest at Φ → 0.
Paraxial propagation of a quantum charge in a random magnetic field
This counter-intuitive result is a reflection of the numerical instability of the iterative construction of orthogonal polynomials. A numerical confirmation will be given in section 7.
Spectral Universality of Real Chiral Random Matrix Ensembles
Nothing in the renormalization procedure, however, determines the finite part of these counter-terms.
The D0-brane metric in N = 2 sigma models
The numerical study on the characteristic length of random knotting as a function of the thickness parameter of polymer chains should be important in the study of knotted DNAs where the effective diameter can be changed according to the concentration of the counter ions.
Characteristic length of random knotting for cylindrical self-avoiding polygons
It is known that the thickness of polymer chains plays an important role in the study of stiff polymers such as DNAs. [21, 22, 23] We may assume that negatively charged DNA molecules with surrounding counter ions can be approximated by impermeable cylinders with the effective radius given by the screening effect.
Characteristic length of random knotting for cylindrical self-avoiding polygons