[ kood; unstressed kuhd ]
/ kʊd; unstressed kəd /
a simple past tense of can1.
(used to express possibility): I wonder who that could be at the door. That couldn't be true.
(used to express conditional possibility or ability): You could do it if you tried.
(used in making polite requests): Could you open the door for me, please?
(used in asking for permission): Could I borrow your pen?
(used in offering suggestions or advice): You could write and ask for more information. You could at least have called me.
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Question 1 of 9
“I do believe that the buck stops here, that I cannot rely upon public opinion polls to tell me what is right. I do believe that right makes might and that if I am wrong, 10 angels swearing I was right would make no difference.”
Origin of could
usage note for could
WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH couldcan, could
Words nearby could
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020
British Dictionary definitions for could
/ (kʊd) /
verb (takes an infinitive without to or an implied infinitive)
used as an auxiliary to make the past tense of can 1
used as an auxiliary, esp in polite requests or in conditional sentences, to make the subjunctive mood of can 1 could I see you tonight?; she'd telephone if she could
used as an auxiliary to indicate suggestion of a course of actionyou could take the car tomorrow if it's raining
(often foll by well) used as an auxiliary to indicate a possibilityhe could well be a spy
Word Origin for could
Old English cūthe; influenced by would, should; see can 1
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
Idioms and Phrases with could
see can (could) do with; see with half an eye, could. Also see under can; couldn't.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.