countenance

EnglishEdit

 
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Alternative formsEdit

EtymologyEdit

From Middle English contenaunce, countenaunce, from Anglo-Norman countenance and Old French contenance, from the present participle of contenir, or from Late Latin continentia, and therefore a doublet of continence.

PronunciationEdit

  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /ˈkaʊn.tɪ.nəns/, /ˈkaʊn.tən.əns/, /ˈkaʊnt.nəns/
  • (General Australian) IPA(key): [kæũ̯ntɪ̆.nəns]
  • (file)
  • (file)

NounEdit

countenance (countable and uncountable, plural countenances)

  1. Appearance, especially the features and expression of the face.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], OCLC 964384981, Genesis 4:5:
      But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
    • 1834, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Francesca Carrara, volume 2, page 319:
      It was as if the countenance were for a brief while allowed to wear the likeness of the peaceful and spiritual world whither the soul had departed.
    • 1959, Georgette Heyer, chapter 1, in The Unknown Ajax:
      But Richmond, his grandfather's darling, after one thoughtful glance cast under his lashes at that uncompromising countenance appeared to lose himself in his own reflections.
    • 1960 January, G. Freeman Allen, “"Condor"—British Railways' fastest freight train”, in Trains Illustrated, page 46:
      With such powerful selling-points, why is it, as recent editorial comment and correspondence in this journal has revealed, that "Condor" has yet to bring a warm glow to the countenance of the L.M.R.'s accountants?
  2. Favour; support; encouragement.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], OCLC 964384981, Psalms 21:6:
      Thou hast made him [] glad with thy countenance.
    • 1706 September 19 (Gregorian calendar), Francis Atterbury, “A Sermon Preach’d in the Guild-Hall Chapel, London, Sept. 28. 1706. Being the Day of the Election of the Right Honourable the Lord Mayor.”, in Fourteen Sermons Preach’d on Several Occasions. [], London: [] E. P. [Edmund Parker?] for Jonah Bowyer, [], published 1708, OCLC 1015443083, page 424:
      This is the Magiſtrate's peculiar Province, to give Countenance to Piety and Virtue, and to rebuke Vice and Prophaneneſs; []
    • 1926, T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, New York: Anchor (1991), p. 174:
      All feared and obeyed him; to use his roads we must have his countenance.
  3. (obsolete) Superficial appearance; show; pretense.
    • 1570, Roger Ascham, Margaret Ascham, editor, The Scholemaster: Or Plaine and Perfite Way of Teaching Children, to Vnderstand, Write, and Speake, the Latin Tong, [], London: [] John Daye, [], OCLC 228713506:
      The election being done, he made countenance of great discontent thereat.
  4. Calm facial expression, composure, self-control.

SynonymsEdit

Derived termsEdit

TranslationsEdit

VerbEdit

countenance (third-person singular simple present countenances, present participle countenancing, simple past and past participle countenanced)

  1. (transitive) To tolerate, support, sanction, patronise or approve of something.
    The cruel punishment was countenanced by the government, although it was not officially legal.
    • 1937, Willa Muir and Edwin Muir (translators), The Trial, (Der Prozess 1925, Franz Kafka), Vintage Books (London), pg. 99
      For the Defence was not actually countenanced by the Law, but only tolerated, and there were differences of opinion even on that point, whether the Law could be interpreted to admit such tolerances at all.

SynonymsEdit

TranslationsEdit

ReferencesEdit


Old FrenchEdit

Alternative formsEdit

EtymologyEdit

From contenant, the present participle of contenir, with the suffix -ance, corresponding to Late Latin continentia. See also continence.

NounEdit

countenance f (oblique plural countenances, nominative singular countenance, nominative plural countenances)

  1. (Anglo-Norman) appearance; countenance
    • e moustre par contenance q'il ad honte de ceo q'il ad fet
      And he showed by his appearance that he was ashamed of what he had done.

Related termsEdit

DescendantsEdit

  • English: countenance
  • French: contenance

ReferencesEdit