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another lie nailed to the counter

A lie or deception 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. First, you plagiarized a paper, now you're caught cheating on an exam? Well, there's another lie nailed to the counter—I can't believe you!
See also: another, counter, lie, nail, to

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

1. 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.
2. An accountant. We need to get a bean counter in here to analyze these expense reports and give us the big picture on our finances.
See also: bean, counter

behind the counter

Describing a medicinal product that must be dispensed by a pharmacist despite not requiring a doctor's prescription. Such medications are kept in an area that only authorized personnel can access, as behind a pharmacy's counter. Often hyphenated and used before a noun. If that medication has amphetamine in it, I bet it's a behind-the-counter drug. A: "It's not an over-the-counter med? My doctor said I wouldn't need a prescription." B: "You're half right. It's behind the counter, so you don't need a prescription, but you also won't find it on the shelves out here. You have to ask a pharmacist for it."
See also: behind, 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.

comma counter

informal Someone who is fastidious to the point of excess, especially when editing writing. The managing editor is such a comma counter—it's so aggravating! Instead of giving meaningful criticism to help us write better, she just nitpicks us to death about obscure grammar rules.
See also: comma, counter

counter with (something)

1. To respond to something with something or in a particular way. A noun or pronoun can be used between "counter" and "with." Amanda can always counter a joke with a witty retort of her own. I was annoyed by that comment, so I countered with a scowl.
2. To refute someone or something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "counter" and "with." When the suspect countered with an alibi, we had to release him.
See also: counter

get out from behind (something)

To stop spending time behind a desk, computer, counter, etc., especially in order to begin interacting with people face to face. In this industry, your most profitable clients will be the ones you develop personal relationships with, so you've got to get out from behind your desk and actually spend time networking with people. The new program aims to bring pharmacists out from behind the counter and connect them with members of the community who need more basic medical care and advice. You need to get out from behind your computer once in a while and talk to some real people, man. All that arguing online is starting to give you some really toxic opinions.
See also: behind, get, out

go counter

To move in the opposite direction of a pursued person or animal. You go counter and see if you can loop around and catch the assailants.
See also: counter, go

nail the lie to the counter

dated To prove, expose, or demonstrate that something is false. The model's photographs have not been digitally altered, and she has gone on record numerous times to nail the lie to the counter. We're working to nail the lie to the counter that simply giving up carbs will help you permanently lose weight.
See also: counter, lie, nail, to

over the counter

1. Of a medicinal product, not requiring a doctor's prescription to be purchased. Often hyphenated. I thought the infection was serious, but I just needed an over-the-counter cream. It wasn't until 1985 that this medication was available over the counter.
2. Of stocks, negotiated directly between buyer and seller, without being listed on an official stock exchange. He was offering an incredible price, so we just sold the stocks over the counter.
See also: counter, over

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

run counter to (someone or something)

To oppose, contravene, or work against someone or something. The former CEO's actions run counter to everything this company stands for. The governor's newest policy seems to be running counter to everything he promised during his election campaign.
See also: counter, run, to

under the counter

Covertly or secretly (and, often, illegally). If you're selling alcohol under the counter, you could get into a lot of trouble.
See also: counter
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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, over

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, to

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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, to

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

a bean counter

If you call someone a bean counter, you mean that they are only interested in how much money a business makes and spends. Note: In the following expressions, `bean' means money. The reason for our failure is that we have bean counters running our companies. The Japanese have engineering and manufacturing people. Medical bean counters don't think it is cost-effective to detect this type of cancer in the older age groups. Note: You can call this type of approach bean counting. If someone does this, you can say they count the beans. He is angry with the Hollywood establishment — the `bean-counting producers, the idiot studio heads and the lawyers.' Those who count the beans in our society have all the power, and will do for the foreseeable future. Note: These expressions usually show disapproval.
See also: bean, counter

under the counter

If you buy or pay for something under the counter, you do it in a secret and dishonest or illegal way. The shirts disappeared from the displays but could still be purchased under the counter as recently as last Friday. Most of the trading was done under the counter, through some form of black-market barter. Note: You can also talk about an under-the-counter payment or deal, meaning one that is secret and dishonest or illegal. It was becoming common practice for athletes to receive under-the-counter payments from organizers to attend meetings. Any under-the-counter money deals were against company policy. Note: The usual American expression is under the table. Note: In Britain, during the Second World War, shopkeepers sometimes kept articles that were in great demand under the shop counter. They only sold them to special customers, often charging very high prices for them.
See also: counter
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

go counter

run or ride against the direction taken by an animal or person hunted or sought.
In Britain, the variants hunt counter and run counter are also found.
See also: counter, go

over the counter

by ordinary retail purchase, with no need for a prescription or licence.
See also: counter, over

run counter to

be or develop in conflict with.
See also: counter, run, to

under the counter (or table)

(with reference to goods bought or sold) surreptitiously and usually illegally.
1994 Coarse Fishing Today The obvious danger is that river fish will be pinched and flogged ‘under the counter’.
See also: counter
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

a ˈbargaining counter

(British English) (also a ˈbargaining chip American English, British English ) a special advantage in negotiations, disputes, etc. which can be offered in exchange for something: The proposed troop reductions were a useful bargaining counter in the disarmament talks.
See also: bargain, counter

over the ˈcounter

goods, especially medicines, for sale over the counter can be bought without written permission from a doctor: These tablets are available over the counter.
See also: counter, over

under the ˈcounter

(of goods bought or sold in a shop) secretly or illegally: Before the revolution, such luxuries were only sold under the counter.
This refers to illegal goods or goods that are only available in small quantities that are hidden, for example under the counter of the store, so that the police or general public cannot see them.
See also: counter
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017


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


n. a pedantic person; a pedantic copy editor. When you need a proofreader, you need a comma-counter.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

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, over

under the counter

In an illegal or surreptitious manner; illicitly: arrested for selling prescription drugs under the counter.
See also: counter
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.
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
The new visa processing and purchasing counters will be solely designated for non-Jordanian passengers in need of an entry visa, with a counter specifically allocated for assisting those with disabilities.
The Bank has operated 52 such branchless banking counters all over the country
The change of schedule also involved three counters in the Northern Region, namely Padang Besar (5am to 10.30pm), Arau (5.30am to 10.30 pm) and Parit Buntar (6am to 10.30pm).
At booth W-638, PallayPack's High Speed Supplement Pack Counter is on display-the system is unique in that it combines a tablet counter and a sachet packaging machine resulting in a flexible daily-dose packaging system.
To begin the investigation, the container of counters was presented to students, along with the question: "How many counters do you think there are in this container?"
In the interbank market on Monday, the rupee lost three paisa on the buying counter and five paisa on the selling counter owing to a rise in dollar demand ahead of the Independence Day holiday.
* Place double-sided tape on kitchen counters and shelves to make them less inviting (it might only need to be temporary).
The two counters will remain open during the week days.
The financial counter fell 1.35 percent while industrial and services counters also slipped.
KARACHI -- To facilitate visiting patients, Dr Ruth KM Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK), has established two more patient registration counters. M e d i c a l Superintendent CHK Dr Mohammad Taufiq, said the hospital administration has opened two more counters for OPD patients and thus the number of patient registration counters is increased from 7 to 13 in last few months.
KARACHI -- To facilitate visiting patients, Dr Ruth KM Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK), has established two more patient registration counters. Medical Superintendent CHK Dr Mohammad Taufiq, said the hospital administration has opened two more counters for OPD patients and thus the number of patient registration counters is increased from 7 to 13 in last few months.
The counters are established at public sector hospitals under Sindh Peoples Health Program, which is a collaborative effort of Poverty Eradication Initiative and Government of Sindh.
The counters will facilitate provision of essential medical and surgical supplies to deserving patients attending both in and outpatient facilities in these hospitals.
It is available in four new dial variants, all with "frappe" finishing and snailed counters:
The Extra-fort Grande Taille with silver counters. A skillful blend of technique and class makes Extra-fort Grande Taille a chronograph with great personality.