When one person sues another in a court of law and the defendant responds by filing their own lawsuit against that person, that's a counterclaim.

If your neighbor sues you because you're collecting junky cars in your shared driveway, you might file a counterclaim stating that they stole property when they hauled one of the old cars to the town dump. Another way to use this word is to mean "opposing argument." In a debate, when you state that school lunch should be free for everyone, your opponent may present a counterclaim that the income from selling food helps the school in the long run.

Definitions of counterclaim
  1. noun
    an argument offered in opposition to another argument
    synonyms: counterargument
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    type of:
    argument, statement
    a fact or assertion offered as evidence that something is true
  2. noun
    a claim filed in opposition to another claim in a legal action
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    type of:
    action, action at law, legal action
    a judicial proceeding brought by one party against another; one party prosecutes another for a wrong done or for protection of a right or for prevention of a wrong
  3. verb
    set up a claim in opposition to a previous claim
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    type of:
    ask for legally or make a legal claim to, as of debts, for example
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