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countenance

[koun-tn-uh ns] /ˈkaʊn tn əns/
noun
1.
appearance, especially the look or expression of the face:
a sad countenance.
2.
the face; visage.
3.
calm facial expression; composure.
4.
approval or favor; encouragement; moral support.
5.
Obsolete. bearing; behavior.
verb (used with object), countenanced, countenancing.
6.
to permit or tolerate:
You should not have countenanced his rudeness.
7.
to approve, support, or encourage.
Idioms
8.
out of countenance, visibly disconcerted; abashed:
He was somewhat out of countenance at the prospect of an apology.
Origin
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English cuntenaunce behavior, bearing, self-control < Anglo-French cuntena(u)nce, Old French contenance < Latin continentia; see continence
Related forms
countenancer, noun
uncountenanced, adjective
undercountenance, noun
Synonyms
2. See face.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for countenances
  • Small wonder, perhaps, in an age when jetlagged musicians played spaced-out works with tedium engraved on their countenances.
  • Some of our ancestors are clearly inferior to us, with smaller brains and apelike countenances.
  • Such an approach countenances a back door around the privilege and would eviscerate the state secret itself.
  • But generally the old veterans wore cheerful countenances and were disposed to make merry.
  • The boys crowd around the office, and it is interesting to watch their countenances as they await the distribution of the mail.
British Dictionary definitions for countenances

countenance

/ˈkaʊntɪnəns/
noun
1.
the face, esp when considered as expressing a person's character or mood a pleasant countenance
2.
support or encouragement; sanction
3.
composure; self-control (esp in the phrases keep or lose one's countenance; out of countenance)
verb (transitive)
4.
to support or encourage; sanction
5.
to tolerate; endure
Derived Forms
countenancer, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French contenance mien, behaviour, from Latin continentia restraint, control; see contain
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 countenances
countenance
mid-13c., from O.Fr. countenance "demeanor, bearing, conduct," from L. continentia "restraint," lit. "way one contains oneself," from continere (see contain). Meaning evolving M.E. from "appearance" to "facial expression betraying a state of mind," to "face" itself (late 14c.). The verb "to favor, patronize" is from 1560s, from notion of "to look upon with sanction or smiles."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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16
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