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    cotangent (n.) — countryman (n.)

    cotangent (n.)

    in trigonometry, "the tangent of the complement of a given angle," a contraction of co. tangent, abbreviation of complement + tangent (n.).ETD cotangent (n.).2

    cote (n.)

    "a hut, a little house," Old English cote, fem. of cot (plural cotu) "small house, bedchamber, den;" see cottage. Applied to sheds for animals from early 15c.ETD cote (n.).2

    coterie (n.)

    "exclusive set or circle of persons who are in the habit of meeting and socializing, a clique," 1738, from French coterie "circle of acquaintances," originally an organization of peasants holding land from a feudal lord (14c.), from cotier "tenant of a cote" (see cottage).ETD coterie (n.).2

    coterminous (adj.)

    also co-terminous, 1630s, malformed in English from co- + terminous (see terminal). Latin purists prefer conterminous.ETD coterminous (adj.).2

    cotillion (n.)

    type of dance, 1766, from French cotillion (15c.), originally "petticoat," a diminutive of Old French cote "skirt" (see coat (n.)); its application to a kind of dance arose in France and is considered obscure by some linguists, but there are lively turns in the dance that flash the petticoats.ETD cotillion (n.).2

    Meaning "formal ball" is 1898, American English, short for cotillion ball. French uses -on (from Latin -onem) to reinforce Latin nouns felt to need more emphatic power (as in poisson from Latin piscis). It also uses -on to form diminutives, often strengthened by the insertion of -ill-, as in the case of this word.ETD cotillion (n.).3

    cotquean (n.)

    1540s (now obsolete), originally apparently "housewife of a cot," from cot "hut, peasant's hut" (see cottage) + quean "woman." "Thence the transition is easy on the one side to 'one who has the manners of a labourer's wife, rude, ill-mannered woman, vulgar bedlam, scold ...' and on the other to 'a man who acts the housewife.' " These senses -- "rude, ill-mannered woman" and "man who busies himself with affairs which properly belong to women" -- both are attested from 1590s. Related: Cotqueanity.ETD cotquean (n.).2


    range of hills in Gloucestershire, literally "wold where there are sheep-cotes;" see cote + wold. Related: Cotswolds.ETD Cotswold.2

    cottabus (n.)

    Beeks writes that kottabos "indicated not only the game itself, but also several objects and movements used in it," so, "[a]s the original meaning of [kottabos] is unknown, all etymologies are necessarily uncertain."ETD cottabus (n.).2

    There also was a denominative verb, kottabizein, "to play kottabos," also euphemistic for "to vomit."ETD cottabus (n.).3

    cottage (n.)

    late 14c., "a cot, a humble habitation," as of a farm-laborer, from Old French cote "hut, cottage" + Anglo-French suffix -age (according to OED the whole probably denotes "the entire property attached to a cote"). Old French cot is probably from Old Norse kot "hut," cognate of Old English cot, cote "cottage, hut," from Proto-Germanic *kutan (source also of Middle Dutch cot, Dutch kot).ETD cottage (n.).2

    Meaning "small country residence or detached suburban house" (without suggestion of poverty or tenancy) is from 1765. Modern French cottage is a 19c. reborrowing from English. Cottage industry, one that can be done at home, is attested from 1854. Cottage cheese, the U.S. name for a kind of soft, white cheese, is attested from 1831, earliest in reference to Philadelphia:ETD cottage (n.).3

    cottager (n.)

    "one who lives in a cottage," 1540s, from cottage + -er (1).ETD cottager (n.).2

    cotter (n.)

    "wedge-shaped piece or bolt which fits into a hole used in fastening or tightening," 1640s, of uncertain origin; perhaps a shortened form of cotterel, a dialectal word for "cotter pin or bolt, bracket to hang a pot over a fire" (1560s), itself of uncertain origin. Cotter-pin is attested by 1849.ETD cotter (n.).2

    cotton (n.)

    late 13c., "white fibrous substance containing the seeds of the cotton plant," from Old French coton (12c.), ultimately (via Provençal, Italian, or Old Spanish) from Arabic qutn, a word perhaps of Egyptian origin. Also ultimately from the Arabic word are Dutch katoen, German Kattun, Provençal coton, Italian cotone, Spanish algodon, Portuguese algodo.ETD cotton (n.).2

    As "cloth made of cotton," from early 15c. The meaning "the cotton plant" is from c. 1400. As an adjective, "made of cotton," from 1550s. Cotton gin is recorded from 1794 (see gin (n.2)). Philip Miller of the Chelsea Physic Garden sent the first cotton seeds to American colony of Georgia in 1732.ETD cotton (n.).3

    cotton (v.)

    1560s, "to prosper, succeed;" of things, "to agree, suit, fit," a word of uncertain origin. Perhaps from Welsh cytuno "consent, agree;" but perhaps rather a metaphor from cloth-finishing and thus from cotton (n.). Hensleigh Wedgwood compares cot "a fleece of wool matted together." Meaning "become closely or intimately associated (with)," is from 1805 via the sense of "to get along together" (of persons), attested from c. 1600. Related: Cottoned; cottoning.ETD cotton (v.).2


    c. 1700, "pertaining to or founded by antiquarian Sir Robert Bruce Cotton (1570-1631), especially in reference to the library in the British Museum, named for him. He donated some books to the state and his grandson donated the rest. It was badly damaged in a fire in 1731. The surname represents Old English cotum, plural of cot "cottage."ETD Cottonian.2

    cottonmouth (n.)

    "venomous serpent of the U.S. South," 1849, so called for the white streak along its mouth; see cotton (n.) + mouth (n.).ETD cottonmouth (n.).2

    cottonocracy (n.)

    "planters, merchants, and manufacturers anywhere who control the cotton trade," as a political ruling force, 1845; see cotton (n.) + -cracy. Bartlett's 1859 edition has "COTTONOCRACY - A term applied to the Boston manufacturers, especially by the 'Boston Whig' newspaper." Specifically of the cotton states of the southern U.S. from 1863.ETD cottonocracy (n.).2

    cotton-picking (adj.)

    as a deprecatory term first recorded in a Bugs Bunny cartoon, but a similar noun cotton-picker meaning "contemptible person" dates to around 1919, perhaps with racist overtones that have faded over the years. Before mechanization, cotton picking was the most difficult labor on a plantation.ETD cotton-picking (adj.).2

    cotton-tail (n.)

    also cottontail, by 1850, American English, a popular name, especially in the South, for the common rabbit of the U.S., so called for the conspicuous fluffy white fur on the underside of the tail; see cotton (n.) + tail (n.).ETD cotton-tail (n.).2

    cottonwood (n.)

    popular name of some species of poplar in the U.S., 1823, from the tuft at the base of the seeds; see cotton (n.) + wood (n.).ETD cottonwood (n.).2

    cotyledon (n.)

    from 1540s in physiology, later in botany, used in various sense, from Latin cotyledon "pennywort, navelwort," from Greek kotyledon "cup-shaped cavity," used of various holes, also "sucker, suction cup," also a plant name, from kotylē "bowl, dish, small cup," also the name of a small liquid measure (nearly a half-pint), in transferred use, "socket, especially of the hip-joint;" a word of uncertain origin [Beekes finds it probably Pre-Greek]. Botanical sense is 1776, from Linnaeus (1751). Related: Cotyledonal.ETD cotyledon (n.).2

    cotyloid (adj.)

    "cup-shaped," applied especially to the socket of the hip joint, 1760, from Latinized form of Greek kotyloeides "cup-shaped," from kotylē "bowl, dish, small cup," in transferred use, "socket of the hip-joint," a word of uncertain origin, + -oeidēs (see -oid).ETD cotyloid (adj.).2

    couch (n.1)

    mid-14c., "a bed," from Old French couche "a bed, lair" (12c.), from coucher "to lie down," from Latin collocare (see couch (v.)). From mid-15c. as "a long seat upon which one rests at full length." Traditionally, a couch has the head end only raised, and only half a back; a sofa has both ends raised and a full back; a settee is like a sofa but may be without arms; an ottoman has neither back nor arms, nor has a divan, the distinctive feature of which is that it goes against a wall.ETD couch (n.1).2

    As symbolic of a psychiatric treatment or psychoanalysis, by 1952. Couch potato first recorded 1979.ETD couch (n.1).3

    couch (v.)

    c. 1300, "to spread or lay on a surface, to overlay," from Old French couchier "to lay down, place; go to bed, put to bed," from Latin collocare "to lay, place, station, arrange," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see com-) + locare "to place," from locus "a place" (see locus).ETD couch (v.).2

    From late 14c. as "to lie down" (intransitive), also "cause to recline upon a bed or other resting place" (transitive). Meaning "lie hidden" is from 1580s. From 1520s as "to put into words;" hence "include the meaning of a word or statement, express in an obscure or veiled way, imply without distinctly saying" (1560s). Related: Couched; couching.ETD couch (v.).3

    Heraldic couchant ("lying down with the head up") is late 15c., from the French present participle.ETD couch (v.).4

    couch (n.2)

    in couch-grass, 1570s; a corruption of Old English cwice "living, alive" (see quick (adj.)).ETD couch (n.2).2

    cougar (n.)

    large cat peculiar to the Americas, 1774, from French couguar, Buffon's adaption (influenced by jaguar) of a word the Portuguese picked up in Brazil as çuçuarana, perhaps from Tupi susuarana, from suasu "deer" + rana "false." Another proposed source is Guarani guaçu ara. Evidently the cedillas dropped off the word before Buffon got it. The cat also goes by the names puma, panther, mountain lion, and catamount.ETD cougar (n.).2

    Slang sense of "older woman (35-plus) who seeks younger males as sex partners" is attested by 2002; said in some sources to have originated in Canada, probably from some reference to predatory feline nature.ETD cougar (n.).3

    cough (v.)

    "a violent, noisy effort to expel air from the lungs," early 14c., coughen, probably in Old English but not recorded, from Proto-Germanic *kokh- (source also of Middle Dutch kochen, Middle High German kuchen), with the rough "kh" of German or of Scottish loch. Onomatopoeic. Related: Coughed; coughing.ETD cough (v.).2

    As a noun from c. 1300, "single act of coughing." As "illness or other condition that affects the sufferer with frequent coughs or fits of coughing," by 1742. Cough-drops attested by 1829; cough-medicine by 1828. To cough up "to present, hand over" is from 1894.ETD cough (v.).3

    could (v.)

    Old English cuðe, past tense of cunnan "to be able" (see can (v.1)); ending changed 14c. to standard English -d(e). The unetymological -l- was added 15c.-16c. on model of would, should, where it is historical. Could be as a response to a suggestion, indicating it may be correct, is by 1938.ETD could (v.).2


    in writing, to indicate the common casual pronunciation of could have, by 1909.ETD coulda.2


    by 1670s, contraction of could + not.ETD couldn't.2

    coulee (n.)

    "deep ravine, seasonally flooded," 1804, a North American word, originally used in areas explored by French trappers, from French coulée "flow" (17c.), from fem. past participle of couler "to flow," from Latin colare "to filter, strain" (see colander).ETD coulee (n.).2

    Coulomb (n.)

    "unit of quantity in measuring electric current" (the quantity of electricity conveyed in 1 second by a current of 1 ampere, 1881, named for French chemist Charles-Augustin de Coulomb (1736-1806), who devised a method of measuring electrical quantity. The surname is a French form of Columbus.ETD Coulomb (n.).2

    coulrophobia (n.)

    "morbid fear of clowns," by 2001 (said in Web sites to date from 1990s or even 1980s), a popular term, not from psychology, possibly facetious, though the phenomenon is real enough; said to be built from Greek kolon "limb," with some supposed sense of "stilt-walker," hence "clown" + -phobia.ETD coulrophobia (n.).2

    Ancient Greek words for "clown" were sklêro-paiktês, from paizein "to play (like a child);" or deikeliktas. Greek also had geloiastes "a jester, buffoon" (from gelao "to laugh, be merry"); there was a khleuastes "jester," but it had more of a sense of "scoffer, mocker," from khleuazo "treat with insolence." Other classical words used for theatrical clowns were related to "rustic," "peasant" (compare Latin fossor "clown," literally "laborer, digger," related to fossil).ETD coulrophobia (n.).3

    Coulrophobia looks suspiciously like the sort of thing idle pseudo-intellectuals invent on the internet and which every smarty-pants takes up thereafter; perhaps it is a mangling of Modern Greek klooun "clown," which is the English word borrowed into Greek.ETD coulrophobia (n.).4

    coulter (n.)

    also colter, "iron blade or sharp-edged wheel attached to the beam of a plow to cut the ground," Old English culter, from Latin culter "a knife, iron blade in a plowshare," from PIE root *skel- (1) "to cut." As a surname (13c.), probably from Coulter in Lancashire.ETD coulter (n.).2

    Coumadin (n.)

    by 1953, name for human anti-coagulant use of the rat poison warfarin sodium, abstracted from the chemical name, 3-(α-acetonylbenzyl)-4-hydroxycoumarin; earlier known as Dicoumarol, it attained publicity when it was used in 1955 to treat U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower after a heart attack. Coumarin as the name of an aromatic crystalline substance is by 1830 in English, from French coumarine, from coumarou, the native name in Guyana of the tonka or tonquin bean, one source of the substance.ETD Coumadin (n.).2

    council (n.)

    "assembly of persons for consultation, deliberation or advice," early 12c., originally in the Church sense, "assembly of prelates and theologians to regulate doctrine and discipline," from Anglo-French cuncile, from Old North French concilie (Old French concile, 12c.) "assembly; council meeting; body of counsellors," from Latin concilium "a meeting, a gathering of people," from PIE *kal-yo-, suffixed form of root *kele- (2) "to shout." The notion is of a calling together. The tendency to confuse it in form and meaning with counsel has been consistent since 16c.ETD council (n.).2

    councillor (n.)

    see councilor.ETD councillor (n.).2

    councilor (n.)

    "a member of a council," early 15c., an alteration of counselor by assimilation to council.ETD councilor (n.).2

    counsel (n.)

    c. 1200, "advice or instruction given;" c. 1300, "mutual advising or interchange of opinions, consultation," from Old French counseil "advice, counsel; deliberation, thought" (10c.), from Latin consilium "plan, opinion," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + root of calare "to announce, summon" (from PIE root *kele- (2) "to shout"). As a synonym for "lawyer, one who gives legal counsel," attested late 14c.ETD counsel (n.).2

    counsel (v.)

    c. 1300, counseilen, "to give or offer advice, admonish, instruct," from Old French conseiller "to advise, counsel," from Latin consiliari, from consilium "plan, opinion," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + root of calare "to announce, summon" (from PIE root *kele- (2) "to shout"). Related: Counseled.ETD counsel (v.).2

    counseling (n.)

    also counselling, early 14c., "the giving or taking of counsel," verbal noun from counsel (v.). Meaning "the giving of professional advice on social or psychological problems" is attested by 1928.ETD counseling (n.).2

    counsellor (n.)

    see counselor.ETD counsellor (n.).2

    counselor (n.)

    mid-13c., counseiler, "one who gives counsel or advice, a confidante," from Old French conseillier "counselor, adviser" (Modern French conseiller), from Latin consilator, agent noun from consiliare, from consilium (see counsel (v.)).ETD counselor (n.).2

    Also sometimes counsellor, but the double -l- is unetymological and perhaps is modeled on chancellor. Meaning "one who gives professional legal advice, a counseling lawyer," is from 1530s. Psychological sense (as in marriage counselor, is from 1940).ETD counselor (n.).3

    counting (n.)

    late 14c., verbal noun from count (v.). Counting-house "room or building set aside for bookkeeping, correspondence, business transactions," is from mid-15c.ETD counting (n.).2

    count (v.)

    late 14c., "to enumerate, assign numerals to successively and in order; repeat the numerals in order," also "to reckon among, include," from Old French conter "to count, add up," also "tell a story," from Latin computare "to count, sum up, reckon together," from com "with, together" (see com-) + putare "to reckon," originally "to prune," from PIE root *pau- (2) "to cut, strike, stamp."ETD count (v.).2

    Intransitive sense "be of value or worth" is from 1857. Related: Counted; counting. Modern French differentiates compter "to count" and conter "to tell," but they are cognates. To count on "rely or depend upon" is from 1640s. To count against (transitive) "to be to the disadvantage of" is by 1888. To count (someone) in "consider (someone) a participant or supporter" is from 1857; count (someone) out in the opposite sense "leave out of consideration" is from 1854.ETD count (v.).3

    count (n.1)

    title of nobility in some continental nations, corresponding to English earl, c. 1300, from Anglo-French counte "count, earl" (Old French conte), from Latin comitem (nominative comes) "companion, attendant," the Roman term for a provincial governor, from com "with" (see com-) + stem of ire "to go" (from PIE root *ei- "to go"). The term was used in Anglo-French to render Old English eorl, but the word was never truly naturalized and mainly was used with reference to foreign titles.ETD count (n.1).2

    count (n.2)

    early 14c., "a counting, a calculation," also "an account of money or property;" late 15c., "the total number, the total counted," from Anglo-French counte, Old French conte "a count, a reckoning, calculations," from conter "to count, add up," from Latin computare "to count, sum up, reckon together" (see compute).ETD count (n.2).2

    Meaning "estimation, esteem, consideration" is from late 15c. In law, "each charge in an indictment," from 1580s. In boxing, "the counting by the referee of the 10 seconds allowed a fallen fighter to get up again," by 1902. In baseball and softball, "the number of strikes and balls thrown to a batter in a turn at the plate," by 1909.ETD count (n.2).3

    countable (adj.)

    "capable of being counted," 1580s, from count (v.) + -able. Earlier it meant "accountable" (late 15c.), but this is obsolete.ETD countable (adj.).2

    countdown (n.)

    also count-down, "the counting down of numerals in reverse order to zero before a significant event," also the preparations made during this time, 1953, American English, in early use especially of launches of rockets or missiles, from the verbal phrase (attested by 1954); see count (v.) + down (adv.).ETD countdown (n.).2

    countenance (n.)

    mid-13c., contenaunce, "behavior, bearing, conduct, manners;" early 14c., "outward appearance, looks," from Old French contenance "demeanor, bearing, conduct," from Latin continentia "restraint, abstemiousness, moderation," literally "way one contains oneself," from continentem, present participle of continere "to hold together, enclose," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + tenere "to hold," from PIE root *ten- "to stretch."ETD countenance (n.).2

    The meaning evolved in late Middle English from "appearance" to "facial expression betraying or expressing a state of mind," to "the face" itself. Hence also, figuratively, "aspect imparted to anything."ETD countenance (n.).3

    Also formerly "controlled behavior, self-control, composure" (c. 1300); in Chaucer to catch (one's) contenaunce is to gain self-control. In later Middle English it also could mean "outward show, pretense."ETD countenance (n.).4

    countenance (v.)

    late 15c., contenauncen, "to behave or act (as if)," from countenance (n.). Sense of "to favor, appear friendly to, patronize" is from 1560s, from notion of "to look upon with sanction or smiles." Related: Countenanced; countenancing.ETD countenance (v.).2

    counter (n.1)

    mid-14c., "table where a money lender does business," from Old French contouer, comptoir "counting room; table or bench of a merchant or bank" (14c.), from Medieval Latin computatorium "place of accounts," from Latin computatus, past participle of computare "to count, sum up, reckon together" (see compute).ETD counter (n.1).2

    Generalized 19c. from banks to shops, then extended to display cases for goods. In reference to a similar construction in a home kitchen by 1875. Over-the-counter in reference to goods sold and money paid is by 1875; phrase under the counter in reference to illegal or clandestine transactions is by 1926.ETD counter (n.1).3

    counter (adj.)

    1590s, "acting in opposition," from counter (adv.) or counter-. From 1823 as "duplicate."ETD counter (adj.).2

    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.ETD counter (n.3).2

    counter (v.)

    "go against, come against, engage in combat," late 14c., short for acountren, encountren (see encounter (v.)). In boxing, "to give a return blow while receiving or parrying a blow from one's opponent," by 1861. Related: Countered; countering.ETD counter (v.).2


    word-forming element used in English from c. 1300 and meaning "against, in opposition; in return; corresponding," from Anglo-French countre-, French contre-, from Latin contra "opposite, contrary to, against, in return," also used as a prefix (see contra (prep., adv.)). A doublet of contra-. In some cases it probably represents a purely English use of counter (adv.).ETD counter-.2

    counter (n.2)

    c. 1300, countour, "one who counts or reckons, an accountant, a local tax official," from Anglo-French countour, which is from an Old French merger of Latin computator and Medieval Latin computatorium, both ultimately from Latin computare "to count, sum up, reckon together" (see compute).ETD counter (n.2).2

    From late 14c. as "metal disk or other thing used in counting." From 1803 as "apparatus for keeping count."ETD counter (n.2).3

    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.ETD counter (adv.).2

    counteract (v.)

    "act in opposition, hinder or defeat by contrary action," 1670s, from counter- + act (v.). Related: Counteracted; counteracting; counteractive; counteraction.ETD counteract (v.).2

    counter-argument (n.)

    also counterargument, "argument set forth to oppose or refute another argument," 1812, from counter- + argument. Counter-arguing is attested from 1660s.ETD counter-argument (n.).2

    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.ETD counterattack (n.).2

    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.ETD counterbalance (v.).2

    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.ETD countercharge (v.).2

    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.ETD counterclockwise (adj., adv.).2

    counterculture (n.)

    also counter-culture, "way of life or collective values deliberately at variance with the prevailing norms of a time and place," 1968, from counter- + culture (n.). Popularized by, and perhaps coined in, the book "The Making of a Counter Culture" by U.S. academic Theodore Roszak. As an adjective by 1972.ETD counterculture (n.).2

    counter-current (n.)

    "a current (of any kind) running in an opposite direction to another current," 1680s, from counter- + current (n.).ETD counter-current (n.).2

    counterfactual (adj.)

    also counter-factual, "expressing a 'what if;' expressing what has not happened but could have," by 1946, from counter- + factual.ETD counterfactual (adj.).2

    counterfeit (v.)

    c. 1300, countrefeten, "pretend to be," from countrefet (adj.), Old French contrefait "imitated" (Modern French contrefait), past participle of contrefaire "imitate," from contre- "against" (see contra-) + faire "to make, to do" (from Latin facere "to make, do," from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put").ETD counterfeit (v.).2

    From late 14c. as "assume, simulate" (a feeling, quality, etc.); also "to make a copy of, imitate without authority or right," especially with a view to deceive or defraud. Medieval Latin contrafactio meant "setting in opposition or contrast." Related: Counterfeited; counterfeiting.ETD counterfeit (v.).3

    counterfeiting (n.)

    "act or fact of feigning or making a copy of," especially with intent to deceive or defraud; verbal noun from counterfeit (v.). Earlier was counterfeiture (early 14c.).ETD counterfeiting (n.).2

    counterfeiter (n.)

    early 15c., "one who imitates or makes a copy of," especially with intent to deceive or defraud, agent noun from counterfeit (v.).ETD counterfeiter (n.).2

    counterfeit (adj.)

    late 14c. (late 13c. in Anglo-French), countrefet, "spurious, forged, made in semblance of an original with a view to defraud," also "feigned, simulated, hypocritical," from Old French contrefait "imitated" (Modern French contrefait), past participle of contrefaire "imitate," from contre- "against" (see contra (prep., adv.)) + faire "to make, to do" (from Latin facere "to make, do," from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put").ETD counterfeit (adj.).2

    As a noun, "an imitation or copy designed to pass as an original," late 14c., from the adjective.ETD counterfeit (adj.).3

    counterinsurgency (n.)

    "military or other action taken to oppose a revolution or revolt," 1962, from counter- + insurgency.ETD counterinsurgency (n.).2

    counterintelligence (n.)

    also counter-intelligence, "act of preventing an enemy from obtaining secret information," 1940, from counter- + intelligence.ETD counterintelligence (n.).2

    counterintuitive (adj.)

    also counter-intuitive, "contrary to intuition, opposed to what would be expected," 1955, from counter- + intuitive.ETD counterintuitive (adj.).2

    counter-jumper (n.)

    old slang for "a salesman in a shop," 1829, from counter (n.1) + agent noun from jump (v.).ETD counter-jumper (n.).2

    countermand (v.)

    "to revoke (a command or order)," early 15c., contremaunden, from Anglo-French and Old French contremander "reverse an order or command" (13c.), from contre- "against" (see contra (prep., adv.)) + mander, from Latin mandare "to order" (see mandate (n.)). Related: Countermanded; countermanding. As a noun, "a contrary order," 1540s.ETD countermand (v.).2

    countermarch (n.)

    "a march back along the same path or in an opposite direction," 1590s, from French contre-marche; see counter- + march (n.1). As a verb from 1640s. Related: Countermarched; countermarching.ETD countermarch (n.).2

    countermeasure (n.)

    "action taken in response to a danger or threat," 1855, from counter- + measure (n.).ETD countermeasure (n.).2

    counter-offer (n.)

    also counteroffer, "offer made in response to another," 1788, from counter- + offer (n.).ETD counter-offer (n.).2

    counterpane (n.)

    "quilt, coverlet, outer covering of a bed," c. 1600, alteration of earlier counterpoynte (mid-15c.; see counterpoint (n.1)) by influence of French pan "section, piece," from Latin pannus "cloth" (see pane) "in allusion to the panes or squares of which bed covers are often composed" [Century Dictionary].ETD counterpane (n.).2

    counterpart (n.)

    mid-15c., countre part "duplicate of a legal document," from French contrepartie, from contre "facing, opposite" (see contra (prep., adv.)) + partie "copy of a person or thing," originally fem. past participle of partir "to divide" (see party (n.)).ETD counterpart (n.).2

    Meaning "corresponding part, part that answers to another" is from 1630s. Sense of "person or thing exactly resembling another" is from 1670s; that of "person or thing serving as the equivalent of another in a different context" is by 1903.ETD counterpart (n.).3

    counterpoint (n.2)

    mid-15c., "art of singing an accompaniment to plain song," from Old French contrepoint, from Medieval Latin cantus contrapunctus, from contrapunctum, from Latin contra "against" (see contra (prep., adv.)) + puncta (see point (n.)). It is a reference to the indication of musical notes by "pricking" with a pointed pen over or under the original melody on a manuscript. Meaning "one or more melodies added, according to fixed rules, to a given melody or theme" is from 1520s.ETD counterpoint (n.2).2

    counterpoint (n.1)

    "quilted coverlet," late 15c., early 15c. in Anglo-French, from Old French (cuilte) contrepointe "(quilt) stitched through and through" (15c.), altered (by substitution of contre) from coute pointe, from Medieval Latin culcita puncta "quilted mattress," from Latin culcita "cushion" + puncta, fem. past participle of pungere "to prick, stab" (from suffixed form of PIE root *peuk- "to prick"). As a verb, "quilt by stitching together two pieces of cloth," from 1590s.ETD counterpoint (n.1).2

    counterpoint (n.3)

    "the opposite point" (in an argument), 1590s, from counter- + point (n.1). As a verb from 1940s.ETD counterpoint (n.3).2

    counterpoise (n.)

    early 15c., "a weight equal to and balancing another; any equal power or force acting in opposition," from Old French contrepois (Modern French contrepoids), from contre- "against" (see contra-) + peis, from Latin pensum "weight," noun use of neuter past participle of pendere "to hang, cause to hang; weigh" (from PIE root *(s)pen- "to draw, stretch, spin").ETD counterpoise (n.).2

    As a verb, "to act in opposition to," late 14c. (implied in counterpoised), from Old French contrepeser.ETD counterpoise (n.).3

    counter-poison (n.)

    also counterpoison, "antidote," 1570s, from counter- + poison (n.).ETD counter-poison (n.).2

    counterproductive (adj.)

    also counter-productive, "having the opposite of the desired effect," 1920, American English, from counter- + productive.ETD counterproductive (adj.).2


    "the resurgence of the Catholic Church from mid-16c. to early 17c. in response to the Protestant Reformation," 1840, from counter- + Reformation.ETD Counter-reformation.2

    counter-revolution (n.)

    also counterrevolution, "a revolution opposing a preceding one or seeking to reverse its results," 1791, in reference to France, from counter- + revolution. Related: Counter-revolutionary (1793 as an adjective; by 1917 as a noun; the earlier noun was counter-revolutionist, 1791).ETD counter-revolution (n.).2

    countersign (n.)

    "a military watchword, a signal given to a soldier on guard, with orders to let no one pass who does not first give that signal," 1590s, from French contresigne, from contre- "against" (see contra-) + signe "sign" (see sign (n.)).ETD countersign (n.).2

    countersign (v.)

    also counter-sign, "to sign opposite to another signature, sign additionally," 1690s, from French contresigner (15c.); see counter- + sign (v.). Related: Countersigned; countersignature.ETD countersign (v.).2

    counterstroke (n.)

    "a blow given in return for one received," 1590s; see counter- + stroke (n.).ETD counterstroke (n.).2

    counter-tendency (n.)

    also countertendency, "natural or prevailing disposition" in some direction, especially opposed to some other tendency, 1849, from counter- + tendency.ETD counter-tendency (n.).2

    countertop (n.)

    "the top of a counter," 1878, from counter (n.1) + top (n.1).ETD countertop (n.).2

    countervail (v.)

    late 14c., countrevaillen, "to be worth as much as," also "to prevail against, resist with equal force," 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.ETD countervail (v.).2

    countess (n.)

    mid-12c., adopted in Anglo-French for "the wife of an earl," from Medieval Latin cometissa, fem. of Latin comes "count" (see count (n.1)). Also used to translate continental titles equivalent to the fem. of earl.ETD countess (n.).2

    county (n.)

    mid-14c., "a shire, a definite division of a country or state for political and administrative purposes," from Anglo-French counte, from Late Latin comitatus "jurisdiction of a count," from Latin comes (see count (n.1)). It replaced Old English scir "shire."ETD county (n.).2

    From late 14c. as "the domain of a count or earl." County palatine, one distinguished by special privileges (Lancaster, Chester, Durham) is from mid-15c. County seat "seat of the government of a county" is by 1848, American English.ETD county (n.).3

    countless (adj.)

    "numberless, uncountable," 1580s, from count (v.) + -less.ETD countless (adj.).2

    country (n.)

    mid-13c., "(one's) native land;" c. 1300, "any geographic area," sometimes with implications of political organization, from Old French contree, cuntrede "region, district, country," from Vulgar Latin *(terra) contrata "(land) lying opposite," or "(land) spread before one," in Medieval Latin "country, region," from Latin contra "opposite, against" (see contra-). The native word is land.ETD country (n.).2

    Also from c. 1300 as "area surrounding a walled city or town; the open country." By early 16c. the word was applied mostly to rural areas, as opposed to towns and cities. Meaning "inhabitants of a country, the people" is from c. 1300.ETD country (n.).3

    As an adjective from late 14c., "peculiar to one's own country (obsolete); by 1520s as "pertaining to or belonging to the rural parts of a region," typically with implications of "rude, unpolished."ETD country (n.).4

    Country air "fresh air" is from 1630s. First record of country-and-western as a music style is by 1942, American English. Country music is by 1968. Country club "recreational and social club, typically exclusive, located in or near the country" is by 1886. Country mile "a long way" is from 1915, American English. Country-mouse is from 1580s; the fable of the mouse cousins is as old as Aesop. Country road "road through rural regions" is from 1873.ETD country (n.).5

    countrified (adj.)

    also countryfied, "characteristic of country life" (especially as opposed to the town); "having the look or manners associated with rural life," 1650s, from country + past participle form of -fy. The verb countrify (by 1850) seems to be a back-formation.ETD countrified (adj.).2

    country-folk (n.)

    "inhabitants of rural areas," by 1722, a hybrid from country + folk. Earlier it meant "fellow-citizen, countryman" (1540s).ETD country-folk (n.).2

    countryman (n.)

    c. 1300 (late 13c. as a surname), "one who lives in the open country, a peasant," from country + man (n.). From mid-14c. as "one born in the same country as another." Related: Countrywoman.ETD countryman (n.).2

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