Count"te*nance\ (koun"t?-nans), n. [OE. contenance, countenaunce, demeanor, composure, F. contenance demeanor, fr. L. continentia continence, LL. also, demeanor, fr. L. continere to hold together, repress, contain. See Contain, and cf. Continence.]

1. Appearance or expression of the face; look; aspect; mien.

So spake the Son, and into terror changed His countenance. --Milton.

2. The face; the features.

In countenance somewhat doth resemble you. --Shak.

3. Approving or encouraging aspect of face; hence, favor, good will, support; aid; encouragement.

Thou hast made him . . . glad with thy countenance. --Ps. xxi. 6.

This is the magistrate's peculiar province, to give countenance to piety and virtue, and to rebuke vice. --Atterbury.

4. Superficial appearance; show; pretense. [Obs.]

The election being done, he made countenance of great discontent thereat. --Ascham.

In countenance, in an assured condition or aspect; free from shame or dismay. "It puts the learned in countenance, and gives them a place among the fashionable part of mankind." --Addison.

Out of countenance, not bold or assured; confounded; abashed. "Their best friends were out of countenance, because they found that the imputations . . . were well grounded." --Clarendon.

To keep the countenance, to preserve a composed or natural look, undisturbed by passion or emotion. --Swift.
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.
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