countenance

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Anglo-Norman, from Latin contineō (hold together).

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /ˈkaʊn.tɪ.nəns/, /ˈkaʊn.tən.əns/
  • (file)

Noun[edit]

countenance (plural countenances)

  1. Appearance, especially the features and expression of the face.
  2. Favour; support; encouragement.
    • Bible, Psalms xxi. 6
      Thou hast made him [] glad with thy countenance.
    • Francis Atterbury (1663-1732)
      This is the magistrate's peculiar province, to give countenance to piety and virtue, and to rebuke vice.
  3. (obsolete) Superficial appearance; show; pretense.
    • Roger Ascham (1515-1568)
      The election being done, he made countenance of great discontent thereat.

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Verb[edit]

countenance (third-person singular simple present countenances, present participle countenancing, simple past and past participle countenanced)

  1. (transitive) To tolerate, support, sanction, patronise or approve of something.
    The cruel punishment was countenanced by the government, although it was not officially legal.
    • 1925, Franz Kafka, The Trial, Vintage Books (London), pg. 99:
      For the Defence was not actually countenanced by the Law, but only tolerated, and there were differences of opinion even on that point, whether the Law could be interpreted to admit such tolerances at all.

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Old French[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Noun[edit]

countenance f (oblique plural countenances, nominative singular countenance, nominative plural countenances)

  1. appearance; countenance
    e moustre par contenance q'il ad honte de ceo q'il ad fet
    And he showed by his appearance that he was ashamed of what he had done.