over the counter Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary
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Meaning of “over the counter” in the English Dictionary

"over the counter" in British English

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over the counter

Drugs that are ​bought over the counter are ​bought in a ​shop without first ​visiting a ​doctor: You can ​buy most ​coldremedies over the counter. [before noun] over-the-countermedicines

over-the-counteradjective

uk   /ˌəʊ.və.ðəˈkaʊn.tər/  us   /ˌoʊ.vɚ.ðəˈkaʊn.tɚ/

over the counter adjective (MEDICINE)

An over-the-counter ​drug is ​bought from a ​shop without the ​person who ​buys it having ​visited a ​doctor first: an over-the-counter ​medicine

over the counter adjective (SHARES)

specialized finance & economics used to ​describe shares that are ​tradeddirectly between dealers (= ​people and ​organizations that ​buy and ​sell for ​others), ​rather than on a stockmarket: Brokers can use the ​system to ​look up ​prices or ​enterquotes for over-the-counter securities.
over the counter
adverb uk   us  
You can ​buy most ​coldremedies over the ​counter.
(Definition of over the counter from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"over-the-counter" in American English

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over-the-counteradjective [not gradable]

 us   /ˈoʊ·vər·ðəˈkɑʊn·tər/
(of ​drugs) ​legallysold without a prescription (= ​special written ​instruction from a ​doctor): The ​painkiller is ​available as an over-the-counter ​drug.
(Definition of over-the-counter from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"over-the-counter" in Business English

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over-the-counteradjective

uk   us   /ˌəʊvəðəˈkaʊntər/ ( abbreviation OTC)
FINANCE, STOCK MARKET used to describe ​shares that are ​bought and ​sold directly using a ​computersystem, rather than on a ​stockmarket: over-the-counter shares/securities/options Brokers can use the ​system to ​look up ​prices or ​enterquotes for over-the-counter securities. Over-the-counter ​trading of Malaysian ​issues continued to be ​active.
COMMERCE available to ​buy from a ​store without a prescription (= written ​instruction from a ​doctor): over-the-counter drug/medicine/product Strong ​sales of ​prescription and over-the-counter ​drugs helped ​boost the company's ​profits.
(Definition of over-the-counter from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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