Definition of countervail in English:



[WITH OBJECT]usually as adjective countervailing
  • Offset the effect of (something) by countering it with something of equal force:

    ‘the dominance of the party was mediated by a number of countervailing factors’
    • ‘But we are concerned because there is a strong presidency without countervailing institutions.’
    • ‘When it is, one must look to international law for countervailing principles, and to politics, above all, for a way through.’
    • ‘Even the broadest discretion is constrained by the need for there to be countervailing circumstances justifying interference with human rights.’
    • ‘Yet this margin loss was countervailed by cost cutting.’
    • ‘It may be that, among girls, a desire to achieve academic goals countervails motivations to use drugs.’
    • ‘But that's the point; there will always be countervailing arguments.’
    • ‘Burke, particularly in his criticism of the French Revolution, evoked tradition and the mystique of history to countervail any present generation's fascination with newness and change.’
    • ‘There are Web sites that dispense countervailing strategies.’
    • ‘This was introduced about seven years ago, after some industries insisted on protection against imports to countervail the sales tax being paid on domestic products.’
    • ‘Any particular discretionary matter may be subject to countervailing matters of equal or greater weight.’
    • ‘Integrity in promise-keeping, at times, confronts countervailing considerations of human welfare.’
    • ‘But without countervailing efforts by policymakers, the ebb of recession can sink many boats as well.’
    • ‘As its memorandum shows, the Commission has to consider and balance in many cases the important but countervailing freedoms of privacy and of expression.’
    • ‘However, there is also countervailing evidence to indicate that when concentration is extreme, innovation is squelched.’
    • ‘The prospects for improving labor standards at the domestic level are constrained by two countervailing market forces.’
    • ‘Otherwise the actions designed to exert countervailing pressure could result in political disaster.’
    • ‘Blame the fact that families don't sit down to dinner together anymore - at least not often enough to countervail the influence of toxic culture.’
    • ‘But is there not a time when we have to admit, in all intellectual honesty, that our positions have been overwhelmed by countervailing data?’
    • ‘But the deeper one looks, the more countervailing stories one finds, and before long the past is as muddy as the present.’
    • ‘And by bringing lots of regular people together, we can actually countervail the influence that big corporations have on American politics.’
    counteract, offset, counterbalance, counterpoise, countervail, compensate for, make up for
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Late Middle English (in the sense ‘be equivalent to in value’): from Anglo-Norman French contrevaloir, from Latin contra valere be of worth against.