[ kood-nt ]

  1. contraction of could not.

usage note For couldn't

Words Nearby couldn't Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use couldn't in a sentence

  • "I c-couldn't," murmured weakly the greatest dramatic poet in the world, and began to cry.

    The Regent | E. Arnold Bennett
  • "C-c-couldn't do it with—out," asserted the climber, referring to the moistening operation.

    The Brass Bound Box | Evelyn Raymond
  • Mind you, I do not say assistant to, because that little word "to" may give a sent-for-and-couldn't-come appearance.

  • I couldn t see how they could be happy, and wondered if they were not sick of war.

  • Page 218, could nt changed from couldn t (we could nt play together).

    The Story of Opal | Opal Whiteley

British Dictionary definitions for couldn't


/ (ˈkʊdənt) /

contraction of
  1. could not

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with couldn't


In addition to the idioms beginning with couldn't

  • couldn't care less

also see:

  • hurt a flea, couldn't

Also see undercan't.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.