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verb \wəd, əd, d, ˈwu̇d\

Simple Definition of would

  • —used to indicate what someone said or thought about what was going to happen or be done

  • —used to talk about a possible situation that has not happened or that you are imagining

  • —used with have to talk about something that did not happen or was not done

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of would

  1. past of will

  1. 1 a archaic :  wished, desired b archaic :  wish for :  want c (1) :  strongly desire :  wish <I would I were young again> —often used without a subject and with that in a past or conditional construction <would that I had heeded your advice> (2) —used in auxiliary function with rather or sooner to express preference <he would sooner die than face them>

  2. 2 a —used in auxiliary function to express wish, desire, or intent <those who would forbid gambling> b —used in auxiliary function to express willingness or preference <as ye would that men should do to you — Luke 6:31 (Authorized Version)> c —used in auxiliary function to express plan or intention <said we would come>

  3. 3 —used in auxiliary function to express custom or habitual action <we would meet often for lunch>

  4. 4 —used in auxiliary function to express consent or choice <would put it off if he could>

  5. 5 a —used in auxiliary function in the conclusion of a conditional sentence to express a contingency or possibility <if he were coming, he would be here now> b —used in auxiliary function in a noun clause (as one completing a statement of desire, request, or advice) <we wish that he would go>

  6. 6 —used in auxiliary function to express probability or presumption in past or present time <would have won if I had not tripped>

  7. 7 :  could <the barrel would hold 20 gallons>

  8. 8 —used in auxiliary function to express a request with which voluntary compliance is expected <would you please help us>

  9. 9 —used in auxiliary function to express doubt or uncertainty <the explanation…would seem satisfactory>

  10. 10 :  should <knew I would enjoy the trip> <would be glad to know the answer>

Origin and Etymology of would

Middle English wolde, from Old English; akin to Old High German wolta wished, desired

First Known Use: before 12th century

WOULD Defined for Kids


verb \wəd, ˈwu̇d\

Definition of would for Students

  1. past of 1will

  1. 1 —used as a helping verb to show that something might be likely or meant to happen under certain conditions <They would come if they could.> <If I were you, I would save my money.>

  2. 2 —used to describe what someone said, expected, or thought <She said she would help me.> <I thought it would take an hour.>

  3. 3 —used as a politer form of will <Would you please stop?>

  4. 4 :  prefers or prefer to <They would die rather than surrender.>

  5. 5 :  was or were going to <We wish that you would go.>

  6. 6 :  is or are able to :  could <No stone would break that window.>

  7. 7 :  strongly desire :  wish <I would that I were home.>

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