countenance

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English[edit]

English Wikipedia has an article on:
Wikipedia

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English contenaunce, countenaunce, from Anglo-Norman countenance and Old French contenance, from the present participle of contenir, or from Late Latin continentia, and therefore a doublet of continence.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

countenance (countable and uncountable, plural countenances)

  1. Appearance, especially the features and expression of the face.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], OCLC 964384981, Genesis 4:5:
      But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
    • 1834, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], Francesca Carrara. [], volume II, London: Richard Bentley, [], (successor to Henry Colburn), OCLC 630079698, page 319:
      It was as if the countenance were for a brief while allowed to wear the likeness of the peaceful and spiritual world whither the soul had departed.
    • 1959, Georgette Heyer, chapter 1, in The Unknown Ajax:
      But Richmond, his grandfather's darling, after one thoughtful glance cast under his lashes at that uncompromising countenance appeared to lose himself in his own reflections.
    • 1960 January, G. Freeman Allen, “"Condor"—British Railways' fastest freight train”, in Trains Illustrated, page 46:
      With such powerful selling-points, why is it, as recent editorial comment and correspondence in this journal has revealed, that "Condor" has yet to bring a warm glow to the countenance of the L.M.R.'s accountants?
  2. Favour; support; encouragement.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], OCLC 964384981, Psalms 21:6:
      Thou hast made him [] glad with thy countenance.
    • 1706 September 19 (Gregorian calendar), Francis Atterbury, “A Sermon Preach’d in the Guild-Hall Chapel, London, Sept. 28. 1706. Being the Day of the Election of the Right Honourable the Lord Mayor.”, in Fourteen Sermons Preach’d on Several Occasions. [], London: [] E. P. [Edmund Parker?] for Jonah Bowyer, [], published 1708, OCLC 1015443083, page 424:
      This is the Magiſtrate's peculiar Province, to give Countenance to Piety and Virtue, and to rebuke Vice and Prophaneneſs; []
    • 1837, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], Ethel Churchill: Or, The Two Brides. [], volume II, London: Henry Colburn, [], OCLC 21345056, pages 179–180:
      However, the poor old lady is in great distress; she and her grandaughter are coming up to London, and I wish to give them all possible countenance and assistance.
    • 1926, T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, New York: Anchor (1991), p. 174:
      All feared and obeyed him; to use his roads we must have his countenance.
  3. (obsolete) Superficial appearance; show; pretense.
    • a. 1569 (date written), Roger Ascham, Margaret Ascham, editor, The Scholemaster: Or Plaine and Perfite Way of Teaching Children, to Vnderstand, Write, and Speake, the Latin Tong, [], London: [] John Daye, [], published 1570, OCLC 228713506:
      The election being done, he made countenance of great discontent thereat.
  4. Calm facial expression, composure, self-control.

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

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.
    Synonyms: approve, sanction, support, tolerate
    The cruel punishment was countenanced by the government, although it was not officially legal.
    • 1937, Willa Muir and Edwin Muir (translators), The Trial, (Der Prozess 1925, Franz Kafka), 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.
    • 2022 May 31, James Vincent, “Boris Johnson’s move to bring back imperial units is pure piffle – and simply unfathomable”, in The Guardian[1]:
      There are obvious reasons to cherish and respect imperial units of measure. [] Very few of us would countenance the removal of pints from pubs, for example.
    • 2022 October 17, “Jeremy Hunt shreds Truss’s economic plans in astounding U-turn on tax”, in The Guardian[2]:
      The new chancellor dismantled almost all of the platform that Truss’s leadership victory had been built on, including the majority of her tax cuts, and hinted a new windfall tax was in his sights – a move the PM had previously said she would not countenance.

Translations[edit]

References[edit]


Old French[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From contenant, the present participle of contenir, with the suffix -ance, corresponding to Late Latin continentia. See also continence.

Noun[edit]

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

  1. (Anglo-Norman) 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.

Related terms[edit]

Descendants[edit]

  • English: countenance
  • French: contenance

References[edit]