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counter- +‎ play


counterplay (countable and uncountable, plural counterplays)

  1. A game move made as a response.
  2. (chess) A counterattack in a different part of the board.
    • 2007 January 7, Dylan Loeb Mcclain, “After a Detour, Nakamura, 19, Is Back to His Winning Ways”, in New York Times[1]:
      Milov might have tried 15 ... b4 to give himself some counterplay on the queenside.
  3. (video games, sociology) A subversive style of gameplay in which a player attempts to overturn the usual rules and conventions of the game.


counterplay (third-person singular simple present counterplays, present participle counterplaying, simple past and past participle counterplayed)

  1. To make a counterplay; to play in response.
    • 1844, Jonathan H. Green, Gambling Unmasked! [], page 191:
      I knew that, with this arrangement, unless I should counterplay, they would soon fleece me.
    • 1928 [1922], Oswald Spengler, translated by Charles Francis Atkinson, The Decline of the West, volume 2, Perspectives of World-History, page 429:
      In these wars of theirs for the heritage of the whole world, continents will be staked, India, China, South Africa, Russia, Islam called out, new technics and tactics played and counterplayed.
    • 1985, Francis Anthony Boyle, World Politics and International Law[2], →ISBN:
      Ironically, therefore, Deng shrewdly counterplayed his “American card” against the Soviet Union in order to forestall Soviet military retaliation against China for the invasion of their Vietnamese ally.
  2. To counter; to contrast or contradict.
    • 1997, Brian W. MacDonald, Tribal Rugs: Treasures of the Black Tent, page 60:
      Yürük weaving generally comprises a rich burnt apricot, particularly in the borders; a mulberry-red filling large areas of the field; lighter reds used to counterplay against a deep, dark crimson []
    • 2019, Natasha Remoundou, “Intercultural Performance Ecologies in the Making: Minor(ity) Theatre and the Greek Crisis”, in Charlotte McIvor, Jason King, editors, Interculturalism and Performance Now: New Directions?, →ISBN, page 296:
      Self-reflections on hope are counterplayed by the grim reality in the camp, reminiscent of a lost home, and the agony for the future.
    • 2021, Bradley Morgan, U2’s The Joshua Tree: Planting Roots in Mythic America, →ISBN, page 38:
      At 3:37, two simultaneous vocal tracks begin to counterplay each other in Bono’s struggle with the range of the pain he is channeling []

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