A counterpoint is something that contrasts, and to counterpoint is to provide a contrast. In music, counterpoint is when two separate melodies are played or sung at the same time.

When a composer writes a piece of music using voices that follow different rhythms or pitches but ultimately come together harmonically, she uses counterpoint. And if you're on the school debate time, you might offer a counterpoint to an opponents argument. You can also use this word as a verb to mean "to highlight difference:" "My tidy bookshelves counterpoint the mess of papers and books on my desk."

Definitions of counterpoint
  1. noun
    an element, idea, or argument used to create a contrast
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    type of:
    component, constituent, element, factor, ingredient
    an abstract part of something
  2. verb
    show differences when compared; be different
    synonyms: contrast
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    counterbalance, oppose
    contrast with equal weight or force
    be in conflict
    enhance by contrast
    counterpoise, counterpose, counterweight
    constitute a counterweight or counterbalance to
    clash, collide, jar
    be incompatible; be or come into conflict
    type of:
    be different
  3. noun
    a musical form involving the simultaneous sound of two or more melodies
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    type of:
    concerted music, polyphonic music, polyphony
    music arranged in parts for several voices or instruments
  4. verb
    write in counterpoint
    “Bach perfected the art of counterpointing
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    type of:
    compose, write
    write music
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