Words related to counter-

contra (prep., adv.)

"against, over against, opposite, on the opposite side; on the contrary, contrariwise," mid-14c., from Latin contra (prep. and adv.) "against," originally "in comparison with," ablative singular feminine of *com-teros, from Old Latin com "with, together" (see com-) + -tr, zero-degree form of the comparative suffix -ter-.


word-forming element meaning "against, in opposition," from Latin adverb and preposition contra "against" (see contra (prep., adv.)). The Latin word was used as a prefix in Late Latin. In French, it became contre- and passed into English as counter-. The Old English equivalent was wiðer (surviving in withers and widdershins), from wið "with, against."

counter (adv.)

"contrary, in opposition, in an opposite direction," mid-15c., from counter- or from Anglo-French and Old French contre "against," both ultimately from Latin contra (see contra (prep., adv.)). As a preposition, "contrary to, opposite, against," mid-15c.

counter (n.3)

early 15c., "that which is counter or opposite," from counter-. From c. 1500 as "a circular parry in fencing," from counter (adv.); boxing sense of "a counter-punch" is by 1857.

counteract (v.)

"act in opposition, hinder or defeat by contrary action," 1670s, from counter- + act (v.). Related: Counteracted; counteracting; counteractive; counteraction.

counter-argument (n.)

also counterargument, "argument set forth to oppose or refute another argument," 1812, from counter- + argument. Counter-arguing is attested from 1660s.

counterattack (n.)

also counter-attack, "attack made in response to an enemy's attack," by 1850; as two words from 1817, from counter- + attack (n.). The verb is recorded from 1867. Related: Counter-attacked; counter-attacking.

counterbalance (v.)

"to weigh against with an equal weight; to serve as a counterpoise to," 1610s, from counter- + balance (v.), in reference to scales. Figurative use dates from 1630s. As a noun, from 1610s, "equal weight or power;" figuratively, "influence acting in opposition," from 1630s.

countercharge (v.)

also counter-charge, "to charge in return," 1610s, from French contre-charger; see counter- + charge (v.). Related: Countercharged; countercharging. As a noun from 1706.

counterclockwise (adj., adv.)

"contrary to the direction of rotation of the hands of a clock," 1870, also counter-clockwise; from counter- + clockwise. British English anti-clockwise is attested from 1879.