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[shoo dst, shoo tst] /ʃʊdst, ʃʊtst/
verb, Archaic.
2nd person singular past of shall.
Also, shouldest
[shoo d-ist] /ˈʃʊd ɪst/ (Show IPA)


[shal; unstressed shuh l] /ʃæl; unstressed ʃəl/
auxiliary verb, present singular 1st person shall, 2nd shall or (Archaic) shalt, 3rd shall, present plural shall; past singular 1st person should, 2nd should or (Archaic) shouldst or shouldest, 3rd should, past plural should; imperative, infinitive, and participles lacking.
plan to, intend to, or expect to:
I shall go later.
will have to, is determined to, or definitely will:
You shall do it. He shall do it.
(in laws, directives, etc.) must; is or are obliged to:
The meetings of the council shall be public.
(used interrogatively in questions, often in invitations):
Shall we go?
Origin of shall
before 900; Middle English shal, Old English sceal; cognate with Old Saxon skal, Old High German scal, Old Norse skal; compare German soll, Dutch zal
Can be confused
can, may, shall, will (see usage note at can; see usage note at the current entry)
Usage note
The traditional rule of usage guides dates from the 17th century and says that to denote future time shall is used in the first person (I shall leave. We shall go) and will in all other persons (You will be there, won't you? He will drive us to the airport. They will not be at the meeting). The rule continues that to express determination, will is used in the first person (We will win the battle) and shall in the other two persons (You shall not bully us. They shall not pass). Whether this rule was ever widely observed is doubtful. Today, will is used overwhelmingly in all three persons and in all types of speech and writing both for the simple future and to express determination. Shall has some use in all persons, chiefly in formal writing or speaking, to express determination: I shall return. We shall overcome. Shall also occurs in the language of laws and directives: All visitors shall observe posted regulations. Most educated native users of American English do not follow the textbook rule in making a choice between shall and will. See also should. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for shouldst
Historical Examples
  • Why shouldst thou lay on me the name of coward, who am yet but a child?

    Told by the Northmen: E. M. [Ethel Mary] Wilmot-Buxton
  • shouldst have liked to wed,” said Blanche, plunging into the matter.

    Clare Avery Emily Sarah Holt
  • Why shouldst thou pine When all great Latmos so exalt will be?

    Endymion John Keats
  • Thou wast born a slave, Nola, and shouldst know how to obey.

    "Unto Caesar" Baroness Emmuska Orczy
  • Phyllis, how shouldst thou like to go forth to serve a lady?

    The White Lady of Hazelwood Emily Sarah Holt
  • shouldst thou fail, it will be a whacking with staves for thine.

    Dave Porter in the Far North

    Edward Stratemeyer
  • Thou, having a noble soul and a good one, shouldst be happy.

    Quo Vadis Henryk Sienkiewicz
  • Well, never mind that; why shouldst thou have remembered me?

    A Nobleman's Nest Ivan Turgenieff
  • Ah, shouldst see me fill my mouth with smoke, and blow it out in rings!

    On the Lightship Herman Knickerbocker Viel
  • But the man who had fetched the Moohel said unto him, "Thou also shouldst taste."

    The Fairy Mythology Thomas Keightley
British Dictionary definitions for shouldst


(archaic or dialect) used with the pronoun thou or its relative equivalent a form of the past tense of shall


/ʃæl; unstressed ʃəl/
verb (past) should takes an infinitive without to or an implied infinitive
esp with I or we as subject. used as an auxiliary to make the future tense: we shall see you tomorrow Compare will1 (sense 1)
with you, he, she, it, they, or a noun as subject
  1. used as an auxiliary to indicate determination on the part of the speaker, as in issuing a threat: you shall pay for this!
  2. used as an auxiliary to indicate compulsion, now esp in official documents: the Tenant shall return the keys to the Landlord
  3. used as an auxiliary to indicate certainty or inevitability: our day shall come
(with any noun or pronoun as subject, esp in conditional clauses or clauses expressing doubt) used as an auxiliary to indicate nonspecific futurity: I don't think I shall ever see her again, he doubts whether he shall be in tomorrow
Usage note
The usual rule given for the use of shall and will is that where the meaning is one of simple futurity, shall is used for the first person of the verb and will for the second and third: I shall go tomorrow; they will be there now. Where the meaning involves command, obligation, or determination, the positions are reversed: it shall be done; I will definitely go. However, shall has come to be largely neglected in favour of will, which has become the commonest form of the future in all three persons
Word Origin
Old English sceal; related to Old Norse skal, Old High German scal, Dutch zal
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for shouldst



Old English sceal, Northumbrian scule "I owe/he owes, will have to, ought to, must" (infinitive sculan, past tense sceolde), a common Germanic preterite-present verb (along with can, may, will), from Proto-Germanic *skal- (cf. Old Saxon sculan, Old Frisian skil, Old Norse and Swedish skola, Middle Dutch sullen, Old High German solan, German sollen, Gothic skulan "to owe, be under obligation;" related via past tense form to Old English scyld "guilt," German Schuld "guilt, debt;" also Old Norse Skuld, name of one of the Norns), from PIE root *skel- (2) "to be under an obligation."

Ground sense of the Germanic word probably is "I owe," hence "I ought." The sense shifted in Middle English from a notion of "obligation" to include "futurity." Its past tense form has become should (q.v.). Cognates outside Germanic are Lithuanian skeleti "to be guilty," skilti "to get into debt;" Old Prussian skallisnan "duty," skellants "guilty."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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