a combining form of counter3, used with the meanings “against,” “contrary,” “opposite,” “in opposition or response to” (countermand ); “complementary,” “in reciprocation,” “corresponding,” “parallel” (counterfoil; counterbalance ); “substitute,” “duplicate” (counterfeit ).

Middle English countre-; see counter3 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
1.  against; opposite; contrary: counterattack
2.  complementary; corresponding: counterfoil
3.  duplicate or substitute: counterfeit
[via Norman French from Latin contrā against, opposite; see contra-]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

prefix meaning "against, in return," from Anglo-Fr. countre-, Fr. contre-, from L. contra "opposite, contrary to, against, in return," also used as a prefix (see contra-)
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

counter- pref.

  1. Contrary; opposite; opposing: countertransport.

  2. Corresponding; complementary: counterincision.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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