Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

should

play
verbal auxiliary \shəd, ˈshu̇d\

Definition of should

  1. past of shall

  1. 1 —used in auxiliary function to express condition <if he should leave his father, his father would die — Genesis 44:22(Revised Standard Version)>

  2. 2 —used in auxiliary function to express obligation, propriety, or expediency <'tis commanded I should do so — Shakespeare> <this is as it should be — H. L. Savage> <you should brush your teeth after each meal>

  3. 3 —used in auxiliary function to express futurity from a point of view in the past <realized that she should have to do most of her farm work before sunrise — Ellen Glasgow>

  4. 4 —used in auxiliary function to express what is probable or expected <with an early start, they should be here by noon>

  5. 5 —used in auxiliary function to express a request in a polite manner or to soften direct statement <I should suggest that a guide…is the first essential — L. D. Reddick>



Origin and Etymology of should

Middle English sholde, from Old English sceolde owed, was obliged to, ought to


First Known Use: before 12th century

Rhymes with should



SHOULD Defined for Kids

should

play
\shəd, ˈshu̇d\

Definition of should for Students

  1. past of shall

  1. 1 :  ought to <They should be here soon.>

  2. 2 :  happen to <If you should see them, say hello for me.>

  3. 3 —used as a more polite or less assured form of shall <Should I turn the light out?>





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up should? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a jerking and twitching of the body

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

two-chairs-on-a-pier-by-the-ocean-in-summer

Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?

brumal hiemal estival vernal
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ