9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[koun-ter-veyl] /ˌkaʊn tərˈveɪl/
verb (used with object)
to act or avail against with equal power, force, or effect; counteract.
to furnish an equivalent of or a compensation for; offset.
Archaic. to equal.
verb (used without object)
to be of equal force in opposition; avail.
Origin of countervail
1350-1400; Middle English contrevailen < Anglo-French countrevail-, tonic stem (subjunctive) of countrevaloir to equal, be comparable to < Latin phrase contrā valēre to be of worth against (someone or something). See counter-, -valent
Related forms
uncountervailed, adjective
1. counterbalance, counterpoise, neutralize. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for countervailing
  • It would be popular at home, but there may be countervailing objections.
  • Research on such topics as antidumping and countervailing measures agreements.
  • It is a sad reflection that in this world of trouble nothing in the way of good comes unattended by a countervailing evil.
  • Failing that, several governments have vowed to take their own legal action or retaliate with countervailing trade measures.
  • Science combated racism but there was a countervailing scientific racism.
  • Two countervailing factors, it is argued, will tend to support the dollar.
  • The countervailing drawback has often been disunity.
  • But within every trend, there is a smaller and countervailing micro-trend.
  • Gauging the relative merits of these countervailing claims will take years.
  • But the strongest countervailing power is that of the provinces.
British Dictionary definitions for countervailing


/ˌkaʊntəˈveɪl; ˈkaʊntəˌveɪl/
when intr, usually foll by against. to act or act against with equal power or force
(transitive) to make up for; compensate; offset
Word Origin
C14: from Old French contrevaloir, from Latin contrā valēre, from contrā against + valēre to be strong
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 countervailing



late 14c., "to be worth as much as," also "to prevail against," from Anglo-French countrevaloir, Old French contrevaloir "to be effective against, be comparable to," from Latin phrase contra valere "to be worth against" (see contra- and valiant). Related: Countervailing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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