Meaning of “counter” in the English Dictionary

"counter" in British English

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counternoun [ C ]

uk /ˈkaʊn.tər/ us /ˈkaʊn.t̬ɚ/

counter noun [ C ] (SURFACE)

B2 a long, flat, narrow surface or table in a shop, bank, restaurant, etc. at which people are served:

There was nobody behind/on the counter when I went into the bank, and I had to wait to be served.
You will find sausages on / the meat counter/rolls on the bread counter.

mainly US UK usually worktop, work surface a kitchen counter :

We stacked the dirty plates on the kitchen counter.

More examples

  • He asked the man behind the counter to make up a box with a mixed selection of chocolates.
  • If you want to buy tickets, you need to go to the counter opposite.
  • The customs official beckoned the woman to his counter.
  • Will passengers waiting to board please go to the ticket counter?
  • Each transaction at the foreign exchange counter seems to take forever.

counterverb [ I or T ]

uk /ˈkaʊn.tər/ us /ˈkaʊn.t̬ɚ/

counteradverb

uk /ˈkaʊn.tər/ us /ˈkaʊn.t̬ɚ/

counter-prefix

uk /kaʊn.tər-/ us /kaʊn.t̬ɚ-/

(Definition of “counter” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"counter" in American English

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counternoun [ C ]

us /ˈkɑʊn·tər/

counter noun [ C ] (SURFACE)

a long, flat, narrow surface in a store, bank, restaurant, etc., at which people are served:

He sat down at the counter of the diner and ordered a cup of coffee.

A counter is also a flat surface in a kitchen on which food can be prepared.

counterverb [ I/T ]

us /ˈkɑʊn·tər/

counter verb [ I/T ] (OPPOSE)

to react to something with an opposing opinion or action; to defend yourself against something:

[ T ] To counter the inaccuracies in the movie, researchers used computer models to project climate changes.

counteradverb [ not gradable ]

us /ˈkɑʊn·tər/

counter adverb [ not gradable ] (BY OPPOSING)

in a way that opposes an opinion or action:

David’s decision to drop out of school to write plays ran counter to (= was directly opposite to) his parent’s expectations.

(Definition of “counter” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"counter" in Business English

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counternoun [ C ]

uk /ˈkaʊntər/ us COMMERCE

the place where customers go to be served or to buy goods in a store:

Please pay at the counter.
You will find rolls on the bread counter.
the checkout counter
He serves behind the counter at the local deli.
across/over the counter

goods or services that are sold or available over the counter can be bought or obtained without needing official permission, for example, from a doctor or someone in authority:

Bonds are sold over the counter, with prices quoted privately to the client.
Regulators declined permission for the remedy to be sold over the counter.
under the counter

goods or services that are sold or available under the counter can be bought or obtained secretly and sometimes illegally:

Pirate DVDs are available under the counter in pubs and clubs everywhere.
under-the-counter deals

(Definition of “counter” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)