Middle English Dictionary Entry

cǒuntre- pref.
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

Against (in position, motion, direction), opposite, counter-; ?back, rear (as opposed to front, forward); ~ filet, some kind of ribbon for the head or headdress; ~ frount, ~ frountel [?OF], part of a vestment or an altar covering which hangs behind [see frount, frountel]; ~ mast, ?a mizzenmast; ~ mine [?OF], a countermine; ~ muren [?OF], to back (a wall, ditch) with a bank of earth; ~ muring, a bank of earth so used; ~ nail, some kind of nail; ~ ongle [adv.; cp. OF contre & ongle], against the claw or hoof, backtracking the game; ~ single [OF contrecengle], a kind of girth; prob., a surcingle; ~ weien, to counterbalance (sth.), weigh, consider.
In opposition, against; ~ pleden, ~ pleiden, ~ pleten [OF contreplaidier], to make a counterplea; argue against (sb.), contradict, deny (sth.); ~ pleting, opposing argument; ~ seien, ~ singen, contradict (sb.), speak against; ~ waiten [AF; CF contregaitier], guard against (sth.).
Corresponding, matching; ~ part [cp. OF contrepartie], the duplicate of a legal document; ~ talli, the other half of a tally [cp. countretaille].
Back, return; ~ paie [?OF], repayment, reprisal.
Her. ~ batailled, ~ batale, having an opposite, or a lower, edge crenelated [cp. batild, batale]; ~ chaunged, ~ coloures, of charges: having the same tinctures as the field but transposed.
Mus. ~ gemel [cp. OF jumel twin], ?two vocal parts moving in harmony, ?one part which harmonizes with another; ~ note, contrapuntal singing; ~ sight, visualizing of the notes sung by the voice called countre, q.v.; ~ tenour, a part or voice accompanying plain song and balancing, or corresponding to, the tenor.
Surg. ~ dividen, to make an opening in the bottom of a wound or an ulcer to facilitate drainage; ~ dividing, ~ opening, the lancing of an ulcer opposite the existing opening to facilitate drainage.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

Note: This entire entry is a problem: the MED doesn't give and define in the subsenses of the definition words under the prefix entry. Most of what is here should have been handled as separate entries (a convention begun with the later volumes of the MED) with only a general treatment of the prefix. Certainly, countretenour, which has two senses (in sense 6.) must be made a separate entry. (See tenǒur n., sense 3.)--per MJW