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counter- +‎ balance.


counterbalance (plural counterbalances)

  1. (literally) A weight that is put in opposition to an equal weight so it keeps that in balance.
  2. (figuratively) A force or influence that balances, checks or limits an opposite one.



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counterbalance (third-person singular simple present counterbalances, present participle counterbalancing, simple past and past participle counterbalanced)

  1. (transitive) To apply weight in order to balance an opposing weight.
    Big brother counterbalances his two siblings to the pound.
    • Boyle
      The remaining air was not able to counterbalance the mercurial cylinder.
  2. (transitive) To apply force in order to balance an opposite one.
    Arm wrestling is undecided as long as the opponents counterbalance each-other
  3. (transitive, figuratively) To match or equal in effect, but acting in opposition
    The defenders' knowledge of the terrain roughly counterbalances the attackers' superior equipment
    • Sir W. Hamilton
      The study of mind is necessary to counterbalance and correct the influence of the study of nature.
    • 1992, Rudolf M. Schuster, The Hepaticae and Anthocerotae of North America: East of the Hundredth Meridian, volume V, page ix
      A considerable effort has been made in these volumes to counterbalance this activity by introducing the student to the plants as living entities with a "life of their own," as Spruce put it.