over the counter

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Related to over the counter: Over the Counter Market

coun·ter 1

Contrary; opposing: moves and counter moves on the checkerboard.
1. One that is an opposite.
2. Sports A boxing blow given while receiving or parrying another.
3. Sports A fencing parry in which one foil follows the other in a circular fashion.
4. A stiff piece of leather around the heel of a shoe or boot.
5. Nautical An overhanging portion of a ship's or boat's stern extending from the water line up to the transom.
6. Printing The depression between the raised lines of the face on a piece of type.
v. coun·tered, coun·ter·ing, coun·ters
1. To meet or return (a blow) by another blow.
2. To move or act in opposition to; oppose.
3. To offer in response: countered that she was too busy to be thorough.
To move, act, or respond so as to be in opposition.
1. In a contrary manner or direction.
2. To or toward an opposite or dissimilar course or outcome: a method running counter to traditional techniques.

[Middle English countre, from Old French contre, from Latin contrā; see counter-.]

count·er 2

1. A flat surface on which money is counted, business is transacted, or food is prepared or served.
2. Games A piece, as of wood or ivory, used for keeping a count or a place.
a. An imitation coin; a token.
b. A piece of money.
over the counter
1. Without being listed or available on an officially recognized stock exchange but in trade by direct negotiation between buyers and sellers: bought stocks over the counter.
2. Without a doctor's prescription being legally required: cold medicine that is available over the counter.
under the counter
In an illegal or surreptitious manner; illicitly: arrested for selling prescription drugs under the counter.

[Middle English countour, from Anglo-Norman counteour, from Medieval Latin computātōrium, countinghouse, from Latin computāre, to calculate; see count1.]

count·er 3

One that counts, especially an electronic or mechanical device that automatically counts occurrences or repetitions of phenomena or events.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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Mrs Verloc leaned over the counter with a low exclamation.
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