AskDefine | Define counter

Dictionary Definition

counter adj : indicating opposition or resistance [syn: antagonistic]


1 table consisting of a horizontal surface over which business is transacted
2 game equipment used in various card or board games
3 a calculator that keeps a record of the number of times something happens [syn: tabulator]
4 a piece of furniture that stands at the side of a dining room; has shelves and drawers [syn: buffet, sideboard]
5 a person who counts things
6 a quick reply to a question or remark (especially a witty or critical one); "it brought a sharp rejoinder from the teacher" [syn: rejoinder, retort, return, riposte, replication, comeback]
7 (computer science) a register whose contents go through a regular series of states (usually states indicating consecutive integers)
8 the piece of leather that fits the heel [syn: heel]
9 a piece of leather forming the back of a shoe
10 a return punch (especially by a boxer) [syn: counterpunch, parry] adv : in the opposite direction; "run counter"


1 speak in response; "He countered with some very persuasive arguments"
2 act in advance of; deal with ahead of time [syn: anticipate, foresee, forestall]

User Contributed Dictionary




Etymology 1

countour, from conteor (French comptoir), from computatorium, from computare.


  1. An object (now especially a small disc) used in counting or keeping count, or as a marker in games, etc.
    He rolled a six on the dice, so moved his counter forward six spaces.
  2. Any stone lying closer to the center than any of the opponent's stones.
  3. A table or board on which money is counted and over which business is transacted; a shop tabletop on which goods are examined, weighed or measured.
    He put his money on the counter, and the shopkeeper put it in the till.
  4. One who counts, or reckons up; a reckoner.
    He's only 16 months, but is already a good counter - he can count to 100.
  5. A telltale; a contrivance attached to an engine, printing press, or other machine, for the purpose of counting the revolutions or the pulsations.
  6. The prison attached to a city court; a Counter.
  7. In the context of "grammar": a class of word used along with numbers to count objects and events, typically mass nouns. Although rare and optional in English (e.g. "20 head of cattle"), they are numerous and required in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
  8. In a kitchen, a surface, often built into the wall and above a cabinet, whereon various food preparations take place.
  9. A proactive defensive hold or move in reaction to a hold or move by one's opponent.
    Always know a counter to any hold you try against your opponent.
  10. Something in contradiction or opposition to a proposal, suggestion, policy, etc.
    We believe that his proposal is counter to our well-established policy.
one who counts, or reckons up; a reckoner

Etymology 2

From and contre, from contra.


  1. Contrary, in opposition; in an opposite direction.
    "Running counter to all the rules of virtue." -Locks.
contrary, in opposition; in an opposite direction


  1. The overhanging stern of a vessel above the waterline.

Etymology 3

From counter-.


  1. To contradict, oppose.
  2. In the context of "boxing": To return a blow while receiving one, as in boxing.
    • "His left hand countered provokingly." -C. Kingsley.
  3. To take action in response to; to respond.


  1. Contrary; opposite; contrasted; opposed; adverse; antagonistic.
    His carrying a knife was counter to my plan.

Extensive Definition

In digital logic and computing, a counter is a device which stores (and sometimes displays) the number of times a particular event or process has occurred, often in relationship to a clock signal. In practice, there are two types of counters:

Counters in electronics

In electronics, counters can be implemented quite easily using register-type circuits such as the flip-flop, and a wide variety of designs exist, e.g:
  • Asynchronous (ripple) counters
  • Synchronous counters
  • Johnson counters
  • Decade counters
  • Up-Down counters
  • Ring counters
Each is useful for different applications. Usually, counter circuits are digital in nature, and count in binary, or sometimes binary coded decimal. Many types of counter circuit are available as digital building blocks, for example a number of chips in the 4000 series implement different counters.

Asynchronous (ripple) counters

Counters in computer science

In computability theory, a counter is considered a type of memory. A counter stores a single natural number (initially zero) and can be arbitrarily many digits long. A counter is usually considered in conjunction with a finite state machine (FSM), which can perform the following operations on the counter:
  • Check whether the counter is zero
  • Increment the counter by one
  • Decrement the counter by one (if it's already zero, this leaves it unchanged).
The following machines are listed in order of power, with each one being strictly more powerful than the one below it:
  1. Deterministic or Non-deterministic FSM plus two counters
  2. Non-deterministic FSM plus one stack
  3. Non-deterministic FSM plus one counter
  4. Deterministic FSM plus one counter
  5. Deterministic or Non-deterministic FSM
For the first and last, it doesn't matter whether the FSM is deterministic or non-deterministic (see determinism). They have equivalent power. The first two and the last one are levels of the Chomsky hierarchy.
The first machine, an FSM plus two counters, is equivalent in power to a Turing machine. See the article on register machines for a proof.

Counters in the Internet

A web counter counts how many time a website or certain page has been viewed. They are usually accurate but some controversies have started regarding if they are accurate or not. This is usually because most counters count the number of unique hits a page gets while others count how many times a page was viewed even if the same person viewed it twice.
counter in Arabic: عداد
counter in Aymara: Jakhuri
counter in Bulgarian: Брояч
counter in Czech: Čítač
counter in Danish: Tæller (digital elektronik)
counter in German: Zählwerk
counter in Estonian: Loendur
counter in Spanish: Contador
counter in French: Compteur
counter in Korean: 카운터
counter in Indonesian: Penghitung
counter in Italian: Contatore
counter in Dutch: Teller (breuk)
counter in Japanese: カウンタ (電子回路)
counter in Polish: Licznik (elektronika)
counter in Russian: Счётчик (электроника)

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Geiger counter, Wilson chamber, X-ray spectrograph, X-ray spectrometer, abjure, adversary, adversative, adverse, adversive, advocate, against the grain, against the tide, against the wind, agree to disagree, alien, allege in support, alpha pulse analyzer, ambo, answer, antagonistic, antagonize, anti, antipathetic, antipodal, antipode, antipodean, antipodes, antipole, antithesis, antithetic, antithetical, antonym, antonymous, argue for, ascender, assert, assert the contrary, at cross-purposes, at daggers, at daggers drawn, at issue, at odds, at opposite extremes, at variance, at war with, athwart, atom counter, atom-tagger, back, back to back, backward, baffle, baggage check, balancing, balk, bar, bastard type, be antipathetic, be at cross-purposes, be inimical, be opposed to, beard, beat against, beat off, belie, belly, bench, bevel, black letter, blast, block, board, body, boomerang, boron counter, brave, break, break off, buffet, cap, capital, case, challenge, champion, check, checkmate, chip, circumvent, clash, clashing, cloud chamber, collide, come back at, comeback, compensating, competitive, con, conflict, conflict with, conflicting, confound, confront, confronting, confute, contend for, contest, contra, contradict, contradictory, contradistinct, contrapose, contrapositive, contrarious, contrariwise, contrary, contrast with, contrasted, contrasting, contravene, controvert, converse, cosmic ray counter, counteract, counteractive, counterattack, counterbalance, counterbalancing, counterblast, counterblow, countercheck, countermand, counterpoint, counterpoise, counterpoised, counterpole, counterpose, counterstroke, counterterm, countervail, countervailing, counterwork, counting tube, coupon, cross, dash, dead against, defeat, defend, defy, deny, descender, desk, destroy, detrimental, differ, different, difficult, disaccord, disaccordant, disaffirm, disagree, disallow, disavow, disc, disclaim, discomfit, disconcert, discordant, discountenance, discrepant, dish, disown, disparate, disprove, dispute, disrupt, dissent, dissentient, dissimilar, divergent, diverse, drive back, electronic counter, elude, em, en, enemy, escritoire, espouse, exchange, expansion chamber, eyeball to eyeball, eyeball-to-eyeball, face, face to face, fantail, fat-faced type, feet, fend, fend off, flummox, foil, font, forswear, fractious, frustrate, gainsay, gamma ray counter, get back at, give and take, give in exchange, give in return, give-and-take, go against, go counter to, groove, hard, hardly like, harmful, hat check, heavy particle counter, heel, hinder, hindering, hit back at, hold at bay, hold off, hostile, impeding, impugn, in confrontation, in hostile array, in opposition, inconsistent, inimical, interchange, interfere with, inverse, ion counter, ionization chamber, ionizing event, italic, jangle, jar, join issue upon, join the opposition, jostle, just opposite, juxtapose in opposition, keep at bay, keep off, knock the chocks, lectern, letter, ligature, lock horns, logotype, lower case, maintain, majuscule, make a plea, marker, match, meet head-on, militate against, minuscule, miserable, mismatch, mismate, negate, negative, nick, noncooperative, nonplus, nonuniform, nose to nose, not abide, not accept, not admit, not easy, notions counter, nullify, object, obstinate, obstruct, obstructive, obverse, odd, off, offbeat, offset, opponent, oppose, opposed, opposing, opposite, opposite number, oppositional, oppositive, oppugn, oppugnant, out, overthwart, parry, particle counter, perplex, perverse, pi, pica, piece, pit, play at cross-purposes, plead for, point, polar, poles apart, poop, print, protest, push back, pushcart, put back, radiodetector, rebuff, rebut, recalcitrant, recant, reciprocate, reciprocation, recoil, reflex, refractory, refuse to admit, refute, renounce, repel, reply, repudiate, repugnant, repulse, resist, respond, retaliate, retaliation, retort, retract, return, reverse, reversed, revoke, rigorous, riposte, rival, roman, rudderpost, ruin, run against, run counter to, sabotage, sans serif, say in defense, scarcely like, scotch, scrip, script, secretaire, secretary, set off, setoff, shank, shopboard, shoulder, showcase, sinister, slug, small cap, small capital, speak for, speak up for, spike, spoil, squared off, stamp, stand, stand up for, stave off, stem, stern, stick up for, stop, stressful, strike back, stump, support, sustain, swim upstream, table, tag, tail end, take back, take issue with, the contrary, the other side, thwart, ticket, token, traverse, troublesome, troublous, trying, tube counter, turn aside, turned around, type, type body, type class, type lice, typecase, typeface, typefounders, typefoundry, unalike, uncooperative, unfavorable, unfriendly, unidentical, unlike, unmatched, unpropitious, unresembling, unsame, unsimilar, untoward, up in arms, uphold, upper case, upset, urge reasons for, vary, vie, vis-a-vis, vote against, ward off, with crossed bayonets, withstand, work against, workbench, wretched, writing table, wrong-way, wrong-way around
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