American English

Definition of counter noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1a long flat surface over which goods are sold or business is done in a store, bank, etc. I asked the woman behind the counter if they had any postcards.
  2. 2(also countertop) a flat surface in a kitchen for preparing food on
  3. 3a small disk used for playing or scoring in some board games
  4. 4(especially in compounds) an electronic device for counting something The needle on the rev counter soared. You need to reset the counter. see also Geiger counter compare bean counter
  5. 5[usually singular] counter (to somebody/something) (formal) a response to someone or something that opposes their ideas, position, etc. The employers' association was seen as a counter to union power.
  6. Idioms
    over the counter
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    goods, especially medicines, for sale over the counter can be bought without a prescription (= written permission from a doctor to buy a medicine) or special license These tablets are available over the counter. see also over-the-counter
    under the counter
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    goods that are bought or sold under the counter are sold secretly and sometimes illegally Pornography may be legally banned but it is still available under the counter.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: counter