[ kuhp-uhl ]
See synonyms for: couplecoupledcouplescoupling on

  1. two of the same sort considered together; pair.

  2. two persons considered as joined together, as a married or engaged pair, lovers, or dance partners: They make a handsome couple.

  1. any two persons considered together.

  2. Mechanics. a pair of equal, parallel forces acting in opposite directions and tending to produce rotation.

  3. Also called couple-close. Carpentry. a pair of rafters connected by a tie beam or collar beam.

  4. a leash for holding two hounds together.

  5. Fox Hunting. two hounds: 25 hounds or 12½ couple.

verb (used with object),cou·pled, cou·pling.
  1. to fasten, link, or associate together in a pair or pairs.

  2. to join; connect.

  1. to unite in marriage or in sexual union.

  2. Electricity.

    • to join or associate by means of a coupler.

    • to bring (two electric circuits or circuit components) close enough to permit an exchange of electromagnetic energy.

verb (used without object),cou·pled, cou·pling.
  1. to join in a pair; unite.

  2. to copulate.

Idioms about couple

  1. 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

First recorded in 1175–1225; (noun) Middle English, from Anglo-French c(o)uple,Old French cople, cuple, from Latin cōpula “a tie, bond” (see copula); (verb) Middle English couplen, from Anglo-French co(u)pler,Old French copler, cupler, from Latin copulāre (see copulate)

synonym study For couple

1. See pair1

Grammar notes 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, adjective
  • in·ter·cou·ple, adjective
  • well-coupled, adjective

Words that may be confused with couple

Words Nearby couple Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use couple in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for couple


/ (ˈkʌpəl) /

  1. two people who regularly associate with each other or live together: an engaged couple

  2. (functioning as singular or plural) two people considered as a pair, for or as if for dancing, games, etc

  1. mainly hunting

    • a pair of collars joined by a leash, used to attach hounds to one another

    • two hounds joined in this way

    • the unit of reckoning for hounds in a pack: twenty and a half couple

  2. a pair of equal and opposite parallel forces that have a tendency to produce rotation with a torque or turning moment equal to the product of either force and the perpendicular distance between them

  3. physics

    • two dissimilar metals, alloys, or semiconductors in electrical contact, across which a voltage develops: See thermocouple

    • Also called: galvanic couple two dissimilar metals or alloys in electrical contact that when immersed in an electrolyte act as the electrodes of an electrolytic cell

  4. a connector or link between two members, such as a tie connecting a pair of rafters in a roof

  5. a couple of (functioning as singular or plural)

    • a combination of two; a pair of: a couple of men

    • informal a small number of; a few: a couple of days

  1. (usually preceded by a; functioning as singular or plural) two; a pair: give him a couple

  1. (tr) to connect (two things) together or to connect (one thing) to (another): to couple railway carriages

  2. (tr) to do (two things) simultaneously or alternately: he couples studying with teaching

  1. to form or be formed into a pair or pairs

  2. to associate, put, or connect together: history is coupled with sociology

  3. to link (two circuits) by electromagnetic induction

  4. (intr) to have sexual intercourse

  5. to join or be joined in marriage; marry

  6. (tr) to attach (two hounds to each other)

Origin of 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