Definition of counterpoise in English:


Pronunciation /ˈkoun(t)ərˌpoiz/ /ˈkaʊn(t)ərˌpɔɪz/

Translate counterpoise into Spanish


  • 1A factor, force, or influence that balances or neutralizes another.

    ‘they see the power of Brussels as a counterpoise to that of London’
    • ‘money is a good counterpoise to beauty’
    • ‘The European Union, meanwhile, is patiently assembling the economic girth and institutional confidence to act as the leading counterpoise to Washington.’
    • ‘He will be a fitting counterpoise to Hindu, and for that matter any other communalism, and a persuasive harbinger of the Indian version of secularism.’
    • ‘Down These Mean Streets thus offers an interesting counterpoise to Appiah's critique of Du Bois, and to all searches for a ‘purified’ discourse of race.’
    • ‘This is original stuff, and makes the book a useful counterpoise to my favourite architectural history book, Nervi's Aesthetics and Technology in Building.’
    • ‘Since the Long Parliament and those of the interregnum had abused their authority as freely as Charles I had done, it seemed pointless to build them up as a counterpoise to the Crown.’
    • ‘In this respect, the dog again acts as a counterpoise to the men.’
    • ‘The United States is almost invariably held up as a shining counterpoise to this profligacy.’
    • ‘As a course offering, it would perhaps be more useful at the graduate level as a supplement and counterpoise to more traditional thinking on the subject.’
    • ‘Here, then, in the balance of the hands, is illustrated a counterpoise of creation and destruction in the play of the cosmic dance.’
    • ‘The Don's barely understood emotional meandering is the counterpoise and counterpoint to Kitri's rational love for Basilo.’
    • ‘Mr Sparrow said the site was the only green space in a largely built-up area and had, until recent ‘unsympathetic’ pruning, been a ‘green counterpoise to the surrounding buildings’.’
    • ‘As Costello's political star rose quickly, the media needed a counterpoise.’
    • ‘Thus was conjured up the myth of the Anglo-Saxon supremacy and its counterpoise, the rapid descent of the degenerate post-Roman Britons back to the mud huts and pig sties from which their Italian masters had briefly roused them.’
    • ‘From the clerical perspective, the lavish liturgical choir never received the counterpoise of an extended processional approach.’
    • ‘Likewise, the volume as a whole enacts a delicate counterpoise between powerful natural drives and equally urgent human discipline.’
    • ‘Every melodic figure had its replica, every phrase, its counterpoise in his music.’
    • ‘At the end you are mesmerised by the linear rhythm and the counterpoise of the relief.’
    balance, symmetry, equipoise, parity, equality, evenness
    1. 1.1A counterbalancing weight.
      • ‘There are more wheels and counterpoises in this engine than are easily imagined.’
      counterweight, counterbalance, counterpoise, balance
    2. 1.2A state of equilibrium.
      ‘the building stands in counterpoise to a Roman temple’
      • ‘In 1980, it seemed, these two attitudes were in perfect counterpoise.’
      • ‘Though he goes into great detail about the complexities of the rhetoric of self in counterpoise with society, Vasquez seems to leave the dichotomy intact, giving us a sense of two disparate rhetorical models.’
      • ‘Michelangelo, Raphael, and Titian pursued the poetics of counterpoise in their art.’
      • ‘In counterpoise was the domestic political imperative to avoid the impression that this raid represented a widening of the war, especially given that since July 1968 there had been a two-year bombing pause over North Vietnam.’
      • ‘These curve in counterpoise to the curve of the shell, enhancing the reciprocal nature of the two structures.’
      equilibrium, balance, evenness, symmetry, parity, equality, equity

transitive verb

[with object]
  • 1Have an opposing and balancing effect on.

    ‘excess on one hand is counterpoised by fundamental lack on the other’
    • ‘The pair of them make a delightfully balanced couple, his gentle intellectuality counterpoised by her firm practicality.’
    • ‘Now, just as then, the desperation of the poor counterpoises the obscene consumption of the rich.’
    • ‘The coarse texture of the concrete is counterpoised to the silky surface of aluminium kitchen fittings and gleaming expanse of woodblock floor.’
    • ‘And of course these words are counterpoised by the equally strong judgments implied in the language of sacrifice and patriotism-unless we interpret these as hopelessly undermined by the context.’
    • ‘High-end shopping is not very democratic either: excess on one hand is counterpoised by fundamental lack on the other.’
    • ‘In this sense, it is appropriate to see in colonial Brazil an effective dominant culture counterpoised to an alternative popular culture.’
    • ‘Materials and finishes - epoxy resin floors, simple plastered walls, steel, precast concrete and waxed oak - are austere, and colours muted: gun-metal grey and white counterpoised to the warmth of wood.’
    • ‘The reading room and its semi-elliptical extension are clad in monochromely pale Spanish stone counterpoised to the Portland stone of the Classical facades, in which patching is deliberately clearly visible.’
    • ‘But here too, counterpoised to one tendency in his psychology, there is another.’
    • ‘Burlesque served as a way to counterpoise what these veterans felt was a menacing trend perpetuated by elites - the threat of black equality and a perversion of the war's memory.’
    • ‘Only then will you attain that precious spiritual satisfaction that accompanies the precise counterpoising of your Yin and Yang elements.’
    balance, balance out, counterbalance, counteract, counterpoise, countervail, make up for, offset, cancel out, neutralize, nullify, even up, square up
    1. 1.1Bring into contrast.
      ‘the stories counterpoise a young recruit with an old-timer’
      • ‘In one excellent slow-motion scene his brutal vandalism is counterpoised with his young sister's performance in the glitzy pre-teen dance troupe Sparkle Motion.’
      • ‘The demarcation is clear: Heumann doesn't allow the two modes to blur together; he deliberately counterpoises one against the other in precarious, hypnotic equilibrium.’
      • ‘Later students seem to have copied Kuniyoshi's set as much to ride the coattails of his commercial success as to learn his techniques for counterpoising and balancing figures in action.’
      • ‘Social Darwinism counterpoises superstition/ritual with science/technology and darker skin/exotic clothes with lighter skin / Western clothes.’
      • ‘He counterpoises the harsh reds and oranges on the right - the side of the tug and the setting sun - with beautiful pale and ghostly harmonies on the left - the side of the old ship and a sickle moon.’
      • ‘There is an element of simplistic categorization in portraying the upper class Raj and his family as decadent, and counterpoising Prem and his family as morally good.’
      • ‘In war movies the white masculine hero is often counterpoised against an exoticized, demonic, and dehumanized nonwhite (and often physically disabled) opponent.’
      • ‘As readers may know, Kinsey counterpoised heterosexuality and homosexuality on a single bipolar continuum, which ranged from exclusive heterosexuality to exclusive homosexuality.’
      • ‘Smith introduces these more sombre notes with real assurance, deftly counterpoising the impending death with the day-to-day concerns and anxieties.’
      • ‘Each has a two-sided composition: one half contains delicate open patterns, designs, scratches, stripes, and latticework and is counterpoised with a darker, more heavily worked half that implies more hidden within.’
      • ‘Placed against a deep and vibrant golden background, a couple is locked in an embrace on the very edge of a flower-strewn, carpet-like meadow, and their hazardous position is counterpoised in a protective halo of gleaming gold.’
      • ‘Silverman counterpoised an ‘action frame of reference’ to the open systems contingency perspective that was by now dominant in organization analysis.’
      • ‘The immateriality of the inserted structures is induced by height and length, and by being counterpoised against the massive masonry wall, its thickness displayed in the deep reveals of small square windows set high above the ground.’
      • ‘Anti-Enlightenment philosophy had a great influence on 19th-century Romanticism, which repudiated reason in favour of nature worship, and counterpoised the genius of the artist to mass mediocrity.’
      • ‘It is difficult not to wax nostalgic when gold is counterpoised to inflation, currency depreciation, exchange-rate uncertainty and chronic balance-of-payments shortfalls.’
      • ‘The truth-telling capacities of the (literal and figurative) glass are counterpoised with the false images reflected back on the Earl by those who assess his body as a part of a wider social organism.’
      • ‘Evocative details of impoverished lives are counterpoised against volumes of ocean that separate the so-called first and third worlds.’
      • ‘The malevolent English Judge Jeffreys is counterpoised with an Irish version, John Toler Norbury.’
      • ‘The history of Egypt is thus counterpoised to the Biblical memory of Egypt.’
      • ‘It is tempting to counterpoise the radical 1960s to the conservative 1950s.’
      • ‘It is like a 1950s architectural concept: a miniature solid glass skyscraper counterpoised against a black granite box (which conceals a ventilation shaft for the Jubilee Line).’
      • ‘Those social scientists who did not succumb to Grunberg and Eagle's descriptions of exotic shelter subcultures generally counterpoised sensationalist deviance with proof of the persistence of normal life in the shelter.’
      • ‘Part of the chypre (dry, smoky or warm balsamic leather accords counterpoised with a fresh top note) family, it is quietly magnetic at first.’


Late Middle English from Old French contrepois from contre ‘against’ + pois from Latin pensum ‘weight’. Compare with poise. The verb, originally counterpeise, from Old French contrepeser, was altered under the influence of the noun in the 16th century.