What does countenance mean?

Definitions for countenance
ˈkaʊn tn ənscoun·te·nance

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word countenance.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. countenance, visagenoun

    the appearance conveyed by a person's face

    "a pleasant countenance"; "a stern visage"

  2. sanction, countenance, endorsement, indorsement, warrant, imprimaturnoun

    formal and explicit approval

    "a Democrat usually gets the union's endorsement"

  3. countenance, physiognomy, phiz, visage, kisser, smiler, mugverb

    the human face (`kisser' and `smiler' and `mug' are informal terms for `face' and `phiz' is British)

  4. permit, allow, let, countenanceverb

    consent to, give permission

    "She permitted her son to visit her estranged husband"; "I won't let the police search her basement"; "I cannot allow you to see your exam"


  1. countenancenoun

    Appearance, especially the features and expression of the face.

  2. countenanceverb

    To tolerate, support, sanction, patronise or approve of something.

    The cruel punishment was countenanced by the government, although it was not officially legal.

  3. Etymology: from contineo.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary


    Etymology: contenance, French.

    So spake our fire, and by his count’nance seem’d
    Entering on studious thoughts abstruse. John Milton, Parad. Lost.

    To whom, with count’nance calm, and soul sedate,
    Thus Turnus. John Dryden, Æn.

    Well, Suffolk, yet thou shalt not see me blush,
    Nor change my countenance for this arrest:
    A heart unspotted is not easily daunted. William Shakespeare, Henry VI.

    She smil’d severe; nor with a troubled look,
    Or trembling hand, the fun’ral present took;
    Ev’n kept her count’nance, when the lid remov’d,
    Disclos’d the heart unfortunately lov’d. John Dryden, Fables.

    The two maxims of any great man at court are, always to keep his countenance, and never to keep his word. Jonathan Swift.

    The night beginning to persuade some retiring place, the gentlewoman, even out of countenance before she began her speech, invited me to lodge that night with her father. Philip Sidney.

    We will not make your countenance to fall by the answer ye shall receive. Francis Bacon, New Atlantis.

    Their best friends were out of countenance, because they found that the imputations, which their enemies had laid upon them, were well grounded. Edward Hyde, b. viii.

    Your examples will meet it at every turn, and put it out of countenance in every place; even in private corners it will soon lose confidence. Thomas Sprat, Sermons.

    If the outward profession of religion and virtue were once in practice and countenance at court, a good treatment of the clergy would be the necessary consequence. Jonathan Swift.

    If those preachers would look about, they would find one part of their congregation out of countenance, and the other asleep. Jonathan Swift.

    It is a kind of ill manners to offer objections to a fine woman, and a man would be out of countenance that should gain the superiority in such a contest: a coquette logician may be rallied, but not contradicted. Joseph Addison, Freeholder, №. 32.

    It puts the learned in countenance, and gives them a place among the fashionable part of mankind. Joseph Addison, Freeholder.

    Yet the stout fairy, mongst the middest crowd,
    Thought all their glory vain in knightly view,
    And that great princess too, exceeding proud,
    That to strange knight no better countenance allow’d. Fa. Q.

    The king hath on him such a countenance,
    As he had lost some province, and a region
    Lov’d, as he loves himself. William Shakespeare, Winter’s Tale.

    The church of Christ, which held that profession which had not the publick allowance and countenance of authority, could not so long use the exercise of Christian religion but in private. Richard Hooker, b. v. sect. 11.

    His majesty maintained an army here, to give strength and countenance to the civil magistrate. John Davies, on Ireland.

    Now then, we’ll use
    His countenance for the battle; which being done,
    Let her who would be rid of him, devise
    His speedy taking off. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

    This is the magistrate’s peculiar province, to give countenance to piety and virtue, and to rebuke vice and profaneness. Francis Atterbury.

    The election being done, he made countenance of great discontent thereat. Roger Ascham, Schoolmaster.

    Oh, you blessed ministers above!
    Keep me in patience, and with ripen’d time
    Unfold the evil, which is here wrapt up
    In countenance. William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure.

    Bianca’s love
    Made me exchange my state with Tranio,
    While he did bear my countenance in the town. William Shakespeare.

  2. To Countenanceverb

    Etymology: from the noun.

    Neither shalt thou countenance a poor man in his cause. Exod.

    This conceit, though countenanced by learned men, is not made out either by experience or reason. Thomas Browne, Vulg. Err.

    This national fault of being so very talkative, looks natural and graceful in one that has grey hairs to countenance it. Addis.

    Each to these ladies love did countenance,
    And to his mistress each himself strove to advance. Fai. Qu.

    Malcolm! Banquo!
    As from your graves rise up, and walk like sprights,
    To countenance this horrour. William Shakespeare, Macbeth.

    At the first descent on shore he was not immured with a wooden vessel, but he did countenance the landing in his longboat. Henry Wotton.


  1. countenance

    Countenance generally refers to a person's facial expression that shows their mood, emotion or character. It can also refer to giving approval, support or encouragement to something.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Countenanceverb

    to encourage; to favor; to approve; to aid; to abet

  2. Countenanceverb

    to make a show of; to pretend

  3. Etymology: [OE. contenance, countenaunce, demeanor, composure, F. contenance demeanor, fr. L. continentia continence, LL. also, demeanor, fr. L. continere to hold together, repress, contain. See Contain, and cf. Continence.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Countenance

    kown′ten-ans, n. the face: the expression of the face: appearance.—v.t. to favour or approve.—n. Coun′tenancer.—Change countenance, to change the expression of the face; His countenance fell, he became dejected or angry; In countenance, unabashed—opp. to Out of countenance. [O. Fr. contenance—L. continentia, restraint, demeanour—L. continēre, to contain.]

Matched Categories

How to pronounce countenance?

How to say countenance in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of countenance in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of countenance in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Examples of countenance in a Sentence

  1. Marcus Tullius Cicero:

    The countenance is the portrait of the soul, and the eyes mark its intentions.

  2. Thomas Fuller:

    A gift, with a kind countenance, is a double present.

  3. Charles Dickens:

    I have known a vast quantity of nonsense talked about bad men not looking you in the face. Don't trust that conventional idea. Dishonesty will stare honestly out of countenance any day of the week, if there is anything to get got by it.

  4. William Hazlitt:

    First impressions are often the truest, as we find (not infrequently) to our cost, when we have been wheedled out of them by plausible professions or studied actions. A man's look is the work of years it is stamped on his countenance by the events of his whole life, nay, more, by the hand of nature, and it is not to be got rid of easily.

  5. Timothy Head:

    They speak with a tremendous amount of conviction and resolve, and I think that Jeb's style, his personality and personal countenance is more contemplative and analytic.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for countenance

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • ملامحArabic
  • подкрепям, насърчавам, изражение на лицетоBulgarian
  • podporovat, výrazCzech
  • ansigt, støtte, tolerere, billige, mineDanish
  • billigen, dulden, Antlitz, GesichtsausdruckGerman
  • ενθαρρύνω, παρουσιαστικό, όψη, υποστηρίζω, φυσιογνωμία, μορφήGreek
  • apoyar, tolerar, semblante, expresión, permitir, apariencia, rostroSpanish
  • قیافهPersian
  • sallia, ilme, kasvonpiirteetFinnish
  • visageFrench
  • aogasScottish Gaelic
  • मुखाकृतिHindi
  • դեմք, աջակցել, սատարել, համակրել, դեմքի արտահայտություն, քաջալերելArmenian
  • wajahIndonesian
  • andlit, láta viðgangastIcelandic
  • apparenza, sembianza, espressioneItalian
  • פניםHebrew
  • dulden, gelaatsuitdrukking, gedogen, verschijningDutch
  • wyraz twarzy, oblicze, minaPolish
  • aparência, semblantePortuguese
  • выражение лицаRussian
  • 面容Chinese

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"countenance." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 4 Dec. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/countenance>.

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    a rugged box (usually made of wood); used for shipping
    • A. crate
    • B. encumbrance
    • C. snap
    • D. abandon

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