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From counter- +‎ act.


  • (noun) IPA(key): /ˈkaʊntəɹˌækt/
  • (file)
  • (verb) IPA(key): /ˌkaʊntəɹˈækt/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ækt


counteract (plural counteracts)

  1. An action performed in opposition to another action.
    • 1859, James Fletcher, A synthesis or conjoint view of the points of doctrine connected with the institution of the Lord's Supper:
      This flesh and blood of Christ's human body, as the redeeming substance, should have been eaten by man as an act of obedience to the command, 'Take, eat,' &c., as a counteract to the act of disobedience, and as a work meet for repentance.
    • 2006, John Danforth, Faith and Politics, →ISBN:
      Every time there is a march by the Ku Klux Klan or a swastika painted on a Jewish building, there could be a counteract of reconciliation within twenty-four hours.


counteract (third-person singular simple present counteracts, present participle counteracting, simple past and past participle counteracted)

  1. To have a contrary or opposing effect or force on
    • 1796, Erasmus Darwin, Zoonomia, or, the Laws of Organic Life:
      Another tide is raised at the same time on the opposite side of the revolving earth; which is owing to the greater centrifugal motion of that side of the earth, which counteracts the gravitation of bodies near its surface.
    • 1911, 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica - Dome
      In India, in the “great mosque” of Jama Masjid (a.d. 1560) and the Gol Gumbaz, or tomb of Mahommed Adil Shah (a.d. 1630) at Bijapur, the domes are carried on pendentives consisting of arches crossing one another and projecting inwards, and their weight counteracts any thrust there may be in the dome.
  2. To deliberately act in opposition to, to thwart or frustrate
    • 1944 November and December, A Former Pupil, “Some Memories of Crewe Works—II”, in Railway Magazine, page 342:
      It took a long time for the place to warm up and to counteract the cold and enable their fingers to cope with the delicate task of moulding, the men would often surround themselves with blocks of iron heated in the furnace.
    • 2016, Margaret Corvid writing in the New Statesman, Five practical things you can do to fight Donald Trump if you live in the UK
      When people hear my American accent, they want to talk to me about Donald Trump. They want to ask me what happened, and why. But most of all, they ask me – with fear filling their voices – what they can do, as individuals, to counteract him, here, from the United Kingdom.


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