couple

[ kuhp-uh l ]
/ ˈkʌp əl /

noun

verb (used with object), cou·pled, cou·pling.

verb (used without object), cou·pled, cou·pling.

to join in a pair; unite.
to copulate.

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Idioms for couple

    a couple of, more than two, but not many, of; a small number of; a few: It will take a couple of days for the package to get there. A dinner party, whether for a couple of old friends or eight new acquaintances, takes nearly the same amount of effort.Also Informal, a couple.

Origin of couple

1175–1225; (noun) Middle English < Anglo-French c(o)uple, Old French cople, cuple < Latin cōpula a tie, bond (see copula); (v.) Middle English couplen < Anglo-French co(u)pler, Old French copler, cupler < Latin copulāre (see copulate)

usage note for couple

The phrase a couple of, meaning “a small number of; a few; several,” has been in standard use for centuries, especially with measurements of time and distance and in referring to amounts of money: They walked a couple of miles in silence. Repairs will probably cost a couple of hundred dollars. The phrase is used in all but the most formal speech and writing. The shortened phrase a couple, without of ( The gas station is a couple miles from here ), is an Americanism of recent development that occurs chiefly in informal speech or representations of speech, especially when followed by number terms (as a couple dozen eggs ) or units of measurement (as a couple years ago; a couple gallons of gas ). This use of couple (as an adjective or modifier) is still disliked by many. Without a following noun, a couple is even more informal: Jack shouldn't drive. It's clear he's had a couple. (Here the noun drinks is omitted.)
In referring to two people, couple, like many collective nouns, may take either a singular or a plural verb. Most commonly, it is construed as a plural: The couple were traveling to Texas. See also collective noun.

OTHER WORDS FROM couple

cou·ple·a·ble, adjectivein·ter·cou·ple, adjectivewell-cou·pled, adjective

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH couple

couple pair several (see synonym study at pair)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for couple

British Dictionary definitions for couple

couple
/ (ˈkʌpəl) /

noun

pronoun

(usually preceded by a; functioning as singular or plural) two; a pairgive him a couple

verb

Word Origin for couple

C13: from Old French: a pair, from Latin cōpula a bond; see copula
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