Main definitions of counter in English

: counter1counter2

counter1

noun

  • 1A long flat-topped fixture in a store or bank across which business is conducted with customers.

    • ‘Some supporters are also signing petitions displayed on the counters of shops and other businesses throughout the city centre.’
    • ‘But after more than three years in operation, the number of bags crossing shop counters - while still a fraction of the number used a few years ago - is creeping up.’
    • ‘I'm the kind of person who gets kept waiting at counters in shops.’
    • ‘You can avoid these lines by not having anything that has to be checked or if you do not have to conduct any business at the ticket counter.’
    • ‘The level of business at post office counters is declining rapidly.’
    • ‘Having eaten these we were hard pressed to ignore the shop counter as we departed.’
    • ‘The couple now hope to travel, read and relax away from the shop counter and the routine of a small business.’
    • ‘They also appreciate public support for collection boxes on many shop counters around the town.’
    • ‘Relatively little euro currency will be passed over bank counters, retail experts believe.’
    • ‘Shop assistants who no longer needed to serve behind counters would be available to circulate and answer questions about the price, size and quality of goods.’
    • ‘I even love queuing at counters during the Christmas shopping frenzy and falling flat on my backside in the slippery snow.’
    • ‘Every time, a customer pushes open the glass door of a supermarket, or steps up to the wooden counter of a grocery shop, there is a chance for the seller to make big bucks.’
    • ‘He told us that it had all begun when he used magnetic ink to encode his bank account number on the bottom line of a wad of blank deposit slips that banks provide at their counters.’
    • ‘The cinema includes digital photographic services, cafe, refreshment counters, and decor that reflects the history and glamour of the art of film-making.’
    • ‘Mrs. Wallace stands at the counter of her pie shop.’
    • ‘Boyd had a daring, flamboyant style, and often jumped over bank counters in his lightning quick hold-ups.’
    • ‘One morning I went to the shop and a young girl served me at the counter.’
    • ‘The shops would have deli counters, which offer high profit margins, serving hot food.’
    • ‘I released a book into the wild, and it's on the counter at our new shop.’
    • ‘While you go around various car accessories shop stalls and insurance counters, children'll have fun at painting and quiz contests.’
    1. 1.1US A long flat-topped structure used for serving food and drinks in a cafeteria or bar.
      • ‘Maura laughed to herself silently as she made her way over to the serving counter, setting her plate down and pulling out a stool to sit on.’
      • ‘After a year, a vacancy came up at the food service counter.’
      • ‘We continued to wrestle all the way over to the food court counter.’
      • ‘An adult man plays guitar and sings in the background, while people order drinks from the faux counter in back.’
      • ‘I drove to one of our favorite restaurants, placed the order, and stood at the counter drinking iced tea while I waited.’
      • ‘You can often find more fat at the salad bar than you can at the fast food counter, Stumbo says.’
      • ‘There are several different counters for food and they offer many options of daily special.’
      • ‘So whilst I start to make a record of my experiments I thought this would be an ideal way to share them with young couples who have probably never been taught how to cook the basics and probably eat from the fast food counters.’
      • ‘She was sitting quietly at the dingy linoleum counter drinking a glass of orange juice, the pale morning sun dancing prettily on her silky, long black hair.’
      • ‘You name what you want, buy the coupons, and then join the line before the serving counters.’
      • ‘The revamp focused on areas of excellence such as the butchery department, fresh meat and fish department, the fruit and vegetable area as well as the deli food counter.’
      • ‘The food court had a stripped down version of Biggy's Burger Barn, our favorite fast food slop house, as well as a panorama of ethnic fast food counters.’
      • ‘The usual serving counters were not being used but the inactive buffet tables were now active.’
      • ‘He got behind the serving counters and dished up turkey and mashed potatoes to the boys and he was just in seventh heaven.’
      • ‘Wendy pulled me out of my seat and dragged me, spluttering helplessly, towards the food counter.’
      • ‘For instance, there will be seven food counters featuring a range of delicacies from raagi mudde and puliyogare to chaat and jolada roti.’
      • ‘Customers order at the counter, but the food is prepared to order.’
      • ‘It's not a gourmet feast, but it's cheap and you don't have to fetch the food yourself from a counter.’
      • ‘The canteen has both a hot and cold food counter so anything from salads to beef stroganoff are on offer.’
      • ‘The food counter was stupefying in size and anything you'd possibly be inclined to have for breakfast was on show.’
    2. 1.2North American A countertop.
      • ‘Amanda started wiping the counter with a damp rag.’
      • ‘Coming back to the real world, she started washing off the counters and tables in the cafe before the store officially opened for the day.’
      • ‘She set the food out on the counter in a straight line.’
      • ‘Her mother slammed the plates down on the countertop, wondrously not breaking them but making a mess as Megan's uneaten food spilled on the counter.’
      • ‘It wasn't enough to make her forget those particular folders on the counter before she left, however.’
      • ‘Kristen said sadly putting her drink on the counter.’
      • ‘Chaz grabbed a stool and put his food on the counter.’
      • ‘Just as I began searching on the counter for my keys Nick walked into the kitchen in just a pair of sweatpants, and said in a chipper tone.’
      • ‘Katrina tossed her bag in it, and grabbed a pen off the kitchen counter.’
      • ‘I set my drink on the counter, it was already half empty.’
      • ‘Clearing the counters of food items and shoving dishes into the sink, I ran a wet cloth over the various surfaces to remove crumbs and spills.’
      worktop, work surface, worktable, table, bench, buffet, top, horizontal surface
      View synonyms
  • 2A small disk used as a place marker or for keeping the score in board games.

    • ‘Most board games, especially war games, use cardboard counters or chits.’
    • ‘According to the rules you need nothing more than your brain and a pack of cards, so it's a lot cheaper than the usual awful party games that cost £29.99 for a box, three dice and six counters.’
    • ‘The game, played with counters and dice, is already proving a big hit - so much so that more copies are being produced to be distributed next year.’
    • ‘Players land ships at anchorages and venture inland in search of buried treasure by putting counters on numbered squares after throwing dice.’
    • ‘Although chess, draughts, dice and gambling were forbidden, counters and dice were also found during the dig.’
    • ‘It was used for making pendants, finger rings, playing counters, dice and even spindle whorls.’
    • ‘Those work quite well as all sorts of counters and tokens.’
    token, chip, disc, jetton
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 A token representing a coin.
      • ‘The name merels comes from the low Latin word merrelus, meaning a ‘token, counter or coin’.’
  • 3An apparatus used for counting.

    ‘the counter tells you how many pictures you have taken’
    • ‘The receiver simply synchronizes its counter to the value transmitted by the remote, and opens the garage door.’
    • ‘All microswitches and counters were controlled by a central power source connected to a digital timer set to turn on one hour after sunset and turn off one hour before sunrise.’
    • ‘My counter for this website records that the site has just received its ten thousandth visitor.’
    • ‘It is suitable for a range of applications including timers, controllers, counters, test equipment or systems requiring an electronic display.’
    • ‘Pennies are a completely useless coin, not able to be used in vending machines, toll roads and perhaps not least importantly, Las Vegas coin counters.’
    • ‘Some sort of centrifugal device that only triggered the counter if it was activated by the centrifugal force of the drum turning.’
    • ‘The error counter is responsive to input signals and the feedback signals for generating error signals.’
    • ‘My hit counter started bleeding in the thousands following the election but seems to have recovered somewhat.’
    • ‘Maybe I had picked up the wrong gadget, and it was a calorie counter, primed to record a Big Mac and fries.’
    • ‘So I installed a hit counter to see what was going on.’
    • ‘So I went in with a calorie counter to analyze the last three day's meals.’
    • ‘Commerce has stated that it doesn't intend to make any money from the fee-free coin counters, which customers and non-customers are invited to use.’
    • ‘For example, Geiger - Mueller counters, the familiar clicking boxes seen in the movies, were first sold in the 1930s.’
    • ‘Really, I've never built anything much more computationally complicated than a counter of single-photons.’
    • ‘When the voter wishes to make no further changes, he or she pulls a large lever, which registers the votes on a counter located at the back of the machine.’
    • ‘The novelty of the electronic counter at the [Overbridge] traffic signal is yet to wear off, and the constables posted at the busy junction seem to be a more relaxed lot these days.’
    • ‘In 1912, George Julius converted his invented mechanical vote counter into a mechanical totalisator.’
    1. 3.1 A person who counts something, for example votes in an election.
      • ‘Is he suggesting that, in some way, the vote counters have got it wrong?’
      • ‘With the touchscreen machines, however, the very counters of the votes can steal at will - and seem to be doing it widely.’
      • ‘Vote counters in Florida are racing against time to complete a hand recount that could decide who is the next US president.’
      • ‘Members of the election committee, ballot counters and voting station officials have all been trained on their individual functions and are prepared for the election.’
      • ‘Hoppe said that vote counters decided to invalidate approximately 40 ballots, mostly due to multiple check marks.’
      • ‘At the other end, you get computers to help the counters to count the votes.’
      • ‘In particular, it scales well as the number of available ballot counters is proportional to the number of voters.’
      • ‘And tensions ran high as well, forcing a county judge there to warn vote counters and observers to be more civil toward each other.’
      • ‘They claim vote counters used arbitrary standards in counting ballots.’
      • ‘It could even make things worse, by adding more translation layers between the voters and the vote counters and preventing recounts.’
      • ‘You can see that the counters are examining these votes very carefully, and I must tell you that they look very tired to me, poor people sitting there.’
      • ‘And vote counters should be nonpartisan public servants, not secretive corporations or party hacks.’
      • ‘The counters are casting votes, not counting votes.’
      • ‘Independent proxy counters must verify votes, and each side can challenge.’
      • ‘It was only a few hours after the general election results that the counters were again sifting through ballot papers.’
      • ‘‘What you're looking at here are the exit poll counters,’ says Quest.’
      • ‘Also, if the ballot counters can't figure out who voted for who, like last time, having the pre-election polls on your side makes it easier for you to steal the election.’
      • ‘I voted today, and I would bet money that I am the only one in this county who voted for him; the vote counters probably think it was a joke ballot.’
      • ‘A team of 50 counters spent more than six hours checking and totalling the votes, as the candidates and their supporters looked on, while keeping an eye on the national election coverage.’
    2. 3.2Physics An apparatus used for counting individual ionizing particles or events.
      • ‘The system also provides for designating the general purpose counters to monitor selected events in programs.’
      • ‘The event is recognized as a macroscopic discontinuity in the counter.’
      • ‘In exchange for some frequency counters and plug-in modules for oscilloscopes, they got the power supply.’
      • ‘The microwave frequency was monitored with a frequency counter.’
      • ‘One was a particle counter installed on the second layer of the Whipple shield protecting the spacecraft's main body.’
      • ‘Today, a variety of instruments are in use for determining speed including electromagnetic sensors and engine revolution counters.’
      • ‘A simple event counter can check how frequently a pump comes on.’
      • ‘The peaks themselves are detected by starting a counter at the first sample in the rectified waveform which is above the first threshold value.’
      • ‘A counter in the clock tracks the time it takes for most of the atoms to make the shift.’
      • ‘The ferrioxalate actinometer is a photon counter and is sensitive to wavelengths less than 450 nm.’
      • ‘The status of these sensors is monitored by a counter that feeds information to a data logger.’
      • ‘A datalogger with an event counter can be used to record the readings.’

Phrases

  • behind the counter

    • Serving in a store or bank.

      ‘ask the young man behind the counter’
      • ‘A small, thin woman with a lined faced and dyed brown hair, also about sixty, stays behind the counter.’
      • ‘The girl behind the counter in the shop was shutting up for the long afternoon lull.’
      • ‘As a child and teenager, she says, she spent a good deal of time behind the counter of Wilfrid's pharmacy.’
      • ‘I told my friend Catherine behind the counter that I wanted to browse the magazines.’
      • ‘Frustration is written all over the face of the man behind the counter.’
      • ‘Imagine our surprise then when we detected a strong Tralee accent behind the counter.’
      • ‘They have witnessed many changes in the grocery trade during their time behind the counter.’
      • ‘Marian has seen huge changes in the post office in her years behind the counter.’
      • ‘When not at the wheel of a racing car, Westley Barber is often found behind the counter of a fish and chip shop.’
      • ‘He thought nothing of the long hours behind the counter simply because he knew he was doing it for them.’
      • ‘The people behind the counter told us the shop had been there for one month.’
      • ‘They have two men working behind the counter; no matter what day of the week or time of day I go in, always the same two men.’
      • ‘Unlike Western fast food joints, there just one spotty teen behind the counter.’
      • ‘He was such a regular of the Flavas fried chicken shop that he greeted the confused man behind the counter like an old friend.’
      • ‘The screaming could be heard for miles, as could my laughter, and the laughter of the guys behind the counter.’
      • ‘You could wave a wad of twenties at the girls behind the counter but it would do no good for they have no facility to take cash.’
      • ‘We left the gallery and told the guy behind the counter how much we liked it and asked, are you the artist?’
      • ‘There were a couple of customers, and only one person[bloke] behind the counter, and the phone was ringing off the hook.’
      • ‘In Horns the Baker, Rose Mulhulland, who works behind the counter, said she did not believe it was a good idea.’
      • ‘[Three,] A friend of the folks in the flat below who works behind the counter at a clothing store.’
      • ‘There were 2 women stood chatting to each other behind the counter as I approached to pay.’
  • over the counter

    • 1By ordinary retail purchase, with no need for a prescription or license.

      as modifier ‘over-the-counter medicines’
      • ‘More than one in 10 children are at risk of having an adverse reaction to drugs bought over the counter, according to new research.’
      • ‘They are advertised, marketed, and sold on the Internet, as well as over the counter in ordinary retail shops.’
      • ‘We also collected data on over the counter medications purchased and visits made to private practitioners.’
      • ‘When should a drug be sold over the counter instead of by prescription only?’
      • ‘Since then, many forms of birth control have become widely available by prescription and over the counter.’
      • ‘Asking pharmacists to record details of over the counter purchases is anything but practical.’
      • ‘Patients derive enough benefit from over the counter cough medicines to purchase them in the first place and to keep returning for more.’
      • ‘Well, now they have just been approved by the FDA to be purchased over the counter so that someone can have one at home.’
      • ‘Drug companies have been switching successful prescription drugs over the counter for years.’
      • ‘Current prescription and over the counter drugs were recorded from containers at the participants' homes.’
      • ‘The drug became popular in Germany and because of the lack of acute toxicity it became available over the counter without prescription.’
      • ‘Another reason may be that drugs in the United States are available only on prescription or over the counter.’
      • ‘Lotions and bath salts such as Aveeno bath can be purchased over the counter.’
      • ‘Coming up, they are common cold medicines that anyone can buy over the counter.’
      • ‘Drugs that will improve cognition in healthy people are in the pipeline, but it could be years before you can buy them over the counter.’
      • ‘Is there any allergy medicine I can buy over the counter that won't affect my blood pressure or my prostate?’
      • ‘Sudafed is also available over the counter, and other prescription products have made the switch as well.’
      • ‘There are several oral antihistamine medications available over the counter or on prescription.’
      • ‘A lot of people buy complementary medicines over the counter because they find they have a beneficial effect.’
      • ‘When purchasing goods over the counter there are certain rules and protocols to be aware of, but as yet no rules of engagement have been established online.’
      1. 1.1(of share transactions) taking place outside the stock exchange system.
        • ‘The company's stock is not listed on any stock exchange, but it is traded over the counter.’
        • ‘After numerous downgradings, it now trades over the counter for a nickel a share.’
  • under the counter (or table)

    • (with reference to goods bought or sold) surreptitiously and typically illegally.

      as modifier ‘an under-the-counter deal’
      ‘certain labs have been peddling this drug under the counter’
      • ‘That is why all sorts of deals are going on under the table and is the second reason why fathers are not named.’
      • ‘It was compared to a donkey's tail, frowned on as a symbol of Western decadence and sold only under the counter.’
      • ‘There is also a huge market for smuggled cigarettes with many legitimate retailers selling them under the counter.’
      • ‘The decoder kit was available under the counter at all the hippest book stores, cafés, and nightclubs.’
      • ‘Cigarettes would be sold only under the counter if plans being considered by Scottish ministers are implemented.’
      • ‘‘Well anything you can do for us over the counter, or under the counter would be great,’ appealed Paddy Bracken.’
      • ‘It's all above board, like, all legit, no under the counter chuff.’
      • ‘There is so much underhanded stuff, people are being paid off under the table.’
      • ‘The Chinatown store that sold them under the table recently went out of business.’
      • ‘The trouble now is that black supermarket, selling to all with cash under the table.’
      • ‘Children in our country are exposed to many more sexual images in television ads - especially those selling beer - than in raunchy magazines sold under the counter.’
      • ‘However, they are now being sold under the counter from street stalls in the city.’

Origin

Middle English (in counter (sense 2)): from Old French conteor, from medieval Latin computatorium, from Latin computare (see compute).

Pronunciation

counter

/ˈkoun(t)ər//ˈkaʊn(t)ər/

noun

  • 1usually in singular A thing which opposes or prevents something else.

    ‘the stimulus to employers' organization was partly a counter to growing union power’
    • ‘Jans decided to begin staging the travel shows as a counter to dull presentations he'd witnessed.’
    • ‘It's full of good sense and a good counter to some of the sappy parenting advice that is out there all over the place.’
    • ‘Learning this transforms a seemingly sorry life into one warmed by the kindness of strangers whose acts of altruism Mary sees as a counter to the teeming cruelties of the world, a reason to believe.’
    • ‘Here, they proclaimed, was the incarnation of the ideal of beauty who would provide a healthy counter to those skeletal harridans who were terrorising young girls towards a bony grave.’
    • ‘Air America was formed specifically to be a counter to what many Liberals view as an overwhelming bias towards the Right in talk radio.’
    • ‘The new book is in itself a counter to that outburst.’
    • ‘Stanhope sees his openness as a counter to society's hypocrisy about such subjects.’
    • ‘Mr. Schaan also seems to believe that invoking the immeasurable is a sufficient counter to the concrete.’
    • ‘The ultimate counter to the conservative movement is a progressive movement.’
    • ‘That quote, by the way, provides the best counter to outsourcing anxiety.’
    • ‘Syafi'i said he expected his team would make a viable counter to foreign efforts in bringing peace to Aceh.’
    • ‘The counter to this is that anything that hurts the other person is not desirable.’
    • ‘Saturday's demonstration of moderate Muslims was presented as a peaceful counter to last week's aggressive gathering.’
    • ‘The cheese was bright and a good counter to the deep character of the beets.’
    • ‘The result is warm, humane and a compelling counter to the callous creed of Social Darwinists.’
    • ‘In modern drama there is no such thing as the rational counter to wildfire popular beliefs.’
    • ‘The poem ends on a lovely reduced, calm note, a counter to the politicised madness of the 1960s.’
    • ‘Scott Burgess has offered a counter to this column on depletion and it can be found here.’
    • ‘The aim is to have a page full of items which will present a modest counter to the noise that will come from the Stoppers in London.’
    • ‘We can expect an increase in enemy countermobility operations as a counter to our superiority in information and weapons technology.’
    • ‘These imagined and real mothers provide an important counter to the negative images of black womanhood circulated in other media.’
    1. 1.1 An answer to an argument or criticism.
      ‘he anticipates an objection and plans his counter’
    2. 1.2Boxing A blow given while parrying; a counterpunch.
      • ‘It is later revealed that a short, chopping right hand counter by Clay catches Liston squarely.’
      • ‘Andi, being no fool at boxing, blocked the counter, and then went in for another blow, pulling back with her left arm.’
      • ‘The right hook, as a counter or a lead, continued to be Cauthen's best weapon aside from dancing.’
      • ‘His other concern is that if Lewis throws the lazy jab which he is prone to doing, a Tyson right hand counter could end matters there and then.’
      • ‘The counter was brought in a sideways blow to the neck, that which Hyman just barely dodged by skipping back.’
      • ‘He was open to a counter and Chi connected with a great right to the body and a big left uppercut that sent Brodie down to the canvas and looking in pain.’
  • 2The curved part of the stern of a ship projecting aft above the waterline.

  • 3Printing
    The white space enclosed by a letter such as O or c.

Main definitions of counter in English

: counter1counter2

counter2

noun

  • The back part of a shoe or boot, enclosing the heel.

    • ‘To test this push down on the heel counter with your thumb.’
    • ‘Rossignol's X6 boot now sports an upper cuff and heel counter and has the look of a suede hiking boot.’
    • ‘Footwear should have a soft insole, heel counter and Velcro straps.’
    • ‘A strip of plastizote must be glued inside the counter of the shoe above the baby's heel to prevent the shoes from slipping off.’
    • ‘The other most important feature is the heel counter on my new shoe.’
    • ‘Boots are constructed with a stiff piece of leather at the back of the heel, called the counter, and two or three layers of leather in the body of the boot.’
    • ‘Also, make an effort to look for shoes with adequate heel counters since they'll help you maintain good heel position when the shoe contacts the ground.’

Origin

Mid 19th century: abbreviation of counterfort ‘buttress’, from French contrefort.

Pronunciation

counter

/ˈkoun(t)ər//ˈkaʊn(t)ər/