Definition of counterchange in US English:



[with object]literary
  • 1Checker with contrasting colours.

    ‘a sudden splendor counterchanged the level lake with diamond-plots of dark and bright’
    • ‘Pink is a delicate colour, and to make it more vibrant I have left sunlit areas of white to counterchange the background against it.’
    • ‘The painting of the ribs is imitated from that of the Lady Chapel, counterchanging the colours.’
    • ‘I still wasn't happy with that so I embroidered, in 3-strand golden-yellow floss, a counterchanging wavy pattern.’
    • ‘The cross counterchanging symbolizes the cross-cultural influence of both races upon each other.’
    1. 1.1Heraldry Interchange the tinctures of (a charge) with that of a divided field.
      • ‘Per fess Or and Azure, a chevron Gules between three mullets counterchanged a canton of England a fleur-de-lis for difference.’
      • ‘Maynes makes the major modification of partitioning the field and counterchanging the principal charge.’
      • ‘The saltire is counterchanged to combine it with the saltire of St. Andrew.’
      • ‘The client might consider counterchanging the tinctures of the field, or using a bordure.’
      • ‘The colors of the shield are counterchanged suggesting teamwork and cooperation.’
      • ‘Argent, a pile throughout embattled azure and in chief three mullets of four points counterchanged.’


  • 1Change that is equivalent in degree but opposite in effect to a previous change.

    ‘to all change there must be counterchange’
    • ‘Apart from the placement and numbering of the Fool, the most significant change made by Mathers to the trumps was the counterchange in the numbers and locations of the trumps Justice and Strength.’
    • ‘Sometimes the authors allude to a tarot technique or feature, such as elemental counterchanges or the esoteric function without providing the original source or even much information.’
    • ‘The end result of such a series of changes and counterchanges adds complexity and reduces stability in the overall domain name system and the applications that use it.’
  • 2Patterning in which a dark motif on a light ground alternates with the same motif light on a dark ground.

    • ‘Patterns and Symmetry results from enquiry into the geometrical characteristics of regular-repeating patterns, and presents a selection of counterchange and other effects in a printed textile format.’
    • ‘For Neolithic ceramic ornaments, this kind of a perfect counterchange is not an exception, but almost a rule.’
    • ‘A counterchange occurs when you swap the tonal values of adjacent shapes like the squares on a checkerboard.’
    • ‘The contrast between light and dark creates the counterchange in the design.’
    • ‘I'm working on a pinafore right now, doing counterchange for the yoke from shoulder to waist.’
    • ‘Almost every magazine features patterns for counterchange and this book will help you learn the basic steps.’
    • ‘The difficulty of adapting counterchange designs for patterns that were designed for pleater smocking is that your ratio of fabric to pleats is reduced.’


Late Middle English (as a heraldic term): from French contrechanger, from contre (expressing substitution) + changer ‘to change’.