View synonyms for would



[ wood; unstressed wuhd ]

auxiliary verb

  1. a simple past tense and past participle of will 1.
  2. (used to express the future in past sentences):

    He said he would go tomorrow.

  3. (used in place of will, to make a statement or form a question less direct or blunt):

    That would scarcely be fair. Would you be so kind?

  4. (used to express repeated or habitual action in the past):

    We would visit Grandma every morning up at the farm.

  5. (used to express an intention or inclination):

    Nutritionists would have us all eat whole grains.

  6. (used to express an uncertainty):

    It would appear that he is guilty.

  7. (used in conditional sentences to express choice or possibility):

    They would come if they had the fare. If the temperature were higher, the water would evaporate.

  8. would have, (used with a past participle to express unfulfilled intention or preference):

    I would have saved you some but Jimmy took it all.

verb (used with object)

  1. (used to express a wish):

    Would he were here!



[ wohld ]



/ wʊd; wəd /


  1. used as an auxiliary to form the past tense or subjunctive mood of will 1
  2. withyou, he, she, it, they, or a noun as subject used as an auxiliary to indicate willingness or desire in a polite manner

    would you help me, please?

  3. used as an auxiliary to describe a past action as being accustomed or habitual

    every day we would go for walks

  4. I wish

    would that he were here

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See should

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Confusables Note

See should.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of would1

First recorded before 900; Middle English would, wald(e), wold(e), wuld(e), Old English wolde, walde; will 1

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. would like, (used to express desire):

    I would like to go next year.

  2. would rather. rather ( def 9 ).

More idioms and phrases containing would

  • as luck would have it
  • fly on the wall, would like to be a
  • wouldn't

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Example Sentences

But on Thursday Boxer triggered a Golden State political earthquake, announcing that she would not seek a fifth term in 2016.

To those who agreed with him, Bush pledged that the law against same-sex marriage would remain intact.

It would became one of the first great mysteries in the United States of America, as it was only then 23 years old.

Without it, they say, the disease would surely kill her within two years.

Almost all of the network and cable news channels said that they would not be showing the cartoons either.

"Capital, capital," his lordship would remark with great alacrity, when there was no other way of escape.

Bessires was included because he would never win it at any later date, but his doglike devotion made him a priceless subordinate.

You would not think it too much to set the whole province in flames so that you could have your way with this wretched child.

He was voluble in his declarations that they would “put the screws” to Ollie on the charge of perjury.

And she would be wearing some of the jewels with the white dress—just a few, not many, of course.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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