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countdown

[kount-doun] /ˈkaʊntˌdaʊn/
noun
1.
the backward counting in fixed time units from the initiation of a project, as a rocket launching, with the moment of firing designated as zero.
2.
the final preparations made during this period.
3.
a period of increasing activity, tension, or anxiety, as before a deadline.
Origin of countdown
1950-1955
1950-55, Americanism; noun use of verb phrase count down
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for countdown
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • By agreement, the countdown was to be broadcast to all aircraft over one of the airport frequencies.

    The Flaming Mountain Harold Leland Goodwin
  • Although attentive, he was not tense, even during the countdown.

    Subspace Survivors E. E. Smith
  • The next night, the big news was the countdown in process at Canaveral to put a functioning "dome" on the moon.

    Prologue to an Analogue Leigh Richmond
  • He hoped the launching crew had gotten their fingers frozen off while they were going through the countdown.

    Pushbutton War Joseph P. Martino
  • It was like the countdown for a rocket firing, Rick thought.

    The Flaming Mountain Harold Leland Goodwin
British Dictionary definitions for countdown

countdown

/ˈkaʊntˌdaʊn/
noun
1.
the act of counting backwards to time a critical operation exactly, such as the launching of a rocket or the detonation of explosives
verb (intransitive, adverb)
2.
to count numbers backwards towards zero, esp in timing such a critical operation
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for countdown
n.

1953, American English, in early use especially of launches of rockets or missiles, from count (v.) + down.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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0
19
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