Dictionary

could

verbal auxiliary \kəd, ˈkd\

Definition of COULD

past of can
—used in auxiliary function in the past <we found we could go>, in the past conditional <we said we would go if we could>, and as an alternative to can suggesting less force or certainty or as a polite form in the present <if you could come we would be pleased>
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Origin of COULD

Middle English couthe, coude, from Old English cūthe; akin to Old High German konda could
First Known Use: 13th century

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms

ablaut, allusion, anacoluthon, diacritic, gerund, idiom, infinitive, metaphor, semiotics, simile
COULD Defined for Kids

could

\kəd, ˈkd\

Definition of COULD for Kids

past of can
1
—used as a helping verb in the past <Her daughter could read at the age of five.>
2
—used as a polite form instead of can <Could you help me?>
3
—used to say something is possible <You could win.> <You could have been hurt.>

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