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behind-the-counter

In a pharmacy, not requiring a prescription but requiring a pharmacist's discretion to purchase, as of drugs or medical devices. Please be aware that all behind-the-counter purchases require identification so the pharmacist can verify your age before purchase.

rivet counter

Someone who demands an exceptionally or unreasonably high level of minute detail or accuracy in something. Used especially in reference to hobbyists, particularly in the field of model train building. I might be considered a rivet counter by others, but I'm particularly proud of the level of detail that goes into my model sets. I can't stand seeing movies with a rivet counter like Jerry. After every film, he just sits there listing all the factual inaccuracies in it rather than just enjoying the darn thing!
See also: counter, rivet

another lie nailed to the counter

A lie and/or fraud has been discovered and now is used as a warning to the public. The phrase possibly originated with US general store owners, who would nail counterfeit coins to their counters to ward off other counterfeiters. I can't believe I caught you in the act in front of all of my friends! Wow, another lie nailed to the counter! Oh, and he was cheating on me too. You all should consider this another lie nailed to the counter.
See also: another, counter, lie, nail

bargaining counter

Something used during a negotiation that provides one party leverage over another party. Primarily heard in UK. Joe's willingness to walk away from the deal proved to be an effective bargaining counter when it came to purchasing a new car.
See also: bargain, counter

bean counter

A derogatory term used to describe someone who obsesses over trivial and insignificant expenditures in an attempt to save money. As soon as the staff learned they had to purchase their own office supplies, they knew it was a result of the finance department's new bean counter tightening the company's purse strings.
See also: bean, counter

counter someone or something with something

to refute someone or something with something. She countered our evidence with an eyewitness. I countered Nancy with a better argument.
See also: counter

counter with something

to say something in refutation of something; to strike back with something. Aren't you going to counter with an argument? He countered with a punch in the jaw.
See also: counter

over the counter

Fig. [of medication bought or sold] without a prescription. (Hyphenated when prenominal. See also under the counter.) This is a good product. You can buy it over the counter. I don't put much trust in over-the-counter medications.
See also: counter

run counter to something

to be in opposition to something; to run against something. (This has nothing to do with running.) Your proposal runs counter to what is required by the manager. His idea runs counter to good sense.
See also: counter, run

under the counter

Fig. [bought or sold] in secret or illegally. (Compare this to over the counter.) The drugstore owner was arrested for selling liquor under the counter. The clerk sold dirty books under the counter.
See also: counter

run counter to something

to be the opposite of something The article presents facts that run counter to what many of us believed had happened.
See also: counter, run

a bargaining chip

  (British, American & Australian) also a bargaining counter (British)
something that you can use to make someone do what you want The workers' strongest bargaining chip in the negotiations is the threat of strike action. Hostages were used as a bargaining counter during the seige.
See also: bargain, chip

a bean counter

  (informal)
an impolite way of describing someone who is responsible for the financial decisions within a company When decisions that affect people's lives are in the hands of bean counters, it's bad news.
See also: bean, counter

over the counter

if a type of medicine is available over the counter, you can buy it without the permission of a doctor You can't buy antibiotics over the counter - they're a prescription drug.
See also: counter

under the counter

if something is bought or sold under the counter it is bought or sold secretly or in a way that is not legal Many of his books are banned and only available under the counter.
See also: counter

run counter to

Be in conflict with, oppose, as in Practice often runs counter to theory. This idiom, first recorded in 1843, uses counter in the sense of "in an opposite direction."
See also: counter, run

under the counter

Secretly, surreptitiously, as in I'm sure they're selling liquor to minors under the counter. This expression most often alludes to an illegal transaction, the counter being the flat-surfaced furnishing or table over which legal business is conducted. It was first recorded in 1926. Also see under the table.
See also: counter

bean-counter

n. a statistician; an accountant. When the bean-counters get finished with the numbers, you won’t recognize them.

comma-counter

n. a pedantic person; a pedantic copy editor. When you need a proofreader, you need a comma-counter.

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.
See also: counter

under the counter

In an illegal or surreptitious manner; illicitly: arrested for selling prescription drugs under the counter.
See also: counter
References in classic literature ?
The evening visitors - the men with collars turned up and soft hats rammed down - nodded familiarly to Mrs Verloc, and with a muttered greeting, lifted up the flap at the end of the counter in order to pass into the back parlour, which gave access to a passage and to a steep flight of stairs.
A sallow, thinly whiskered man, wearing a dingy white collar and a frayed tie, laid down a newspaper, and, leaning familiarly on both elbows far over the bare counter, answered that the person I was inquiring for was indeed his
From behind the bare counter he went on smiling at us, his head held between his hands.
In the shop the sickly man was studying his smudgy newspaper, now spread out largely on the counter.
His hoarse voice failed him, and he rested his head upon his hands until a bottle of wine was brought from the counter.
The landlady having given her directions for the new guest's entertainment to her husband, who acted as cook to the Break of Day, had resumed her needlework behind her counter.
Nothing was astir there but the smell of coffee, wine, tobacco, and syrups; and madame's little counter looked ghastly enough.
Bumble entered the shop; and supporting his cane against the counter, drew forth his large leathern pocket-book: from which he selected a small scrap of paper, which he handed over to Sowerberry.
Bumble's mind in full force, he struck the counter sharply with his cane, and became flushed with indignation.
With slowly dawning remembrance, Mr Venus rises, and holds his candle over the little counter, and holds it down towards the legs, natural and artificial, of Mr Wegg.
The little counter being so short a counter that it leaves the fireplace, which would have been behind it if it had been longer, accessible, Mr Wegg sits down on a box in front of the fire, and inhales a warm and comfortable smell which is not the smell of the shop.
Concurrently, Wegg perceives a pretty little dead bird lying on the counter, with its head drooping on one side against the rim of Mr Venus's saucer, and a long stiff wire piercing its breast.
At the first knock, a sound, as of persons fencing with fire- irons, which had until now been very audible, suddenly ceased; at the second, a studious-looking young gentleman in green spectacles, with a very large book in his hand, glided quietly into the shop, and stepping behind the counter, requested to know the visitor's pleasure.
roared the studious young gentleman, throwing the large book up into the air, and catching it with great dexterity at the very moment when it threatened to smash to atoms all the bottles on the counter.
Bob Sawyer's temporary absence behind the counter, whither he had retired to dispense some of the second-hand leeches, previously referred to; 'my dear friend, I am very miserable.