\ kəd, ˈku̇d How to pronounce could (audio) \

Definition of could

past tense 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.

Examples of could in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Those arguments could get traction with judges there, said Elizabeth Sepper, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law. Lindsay Whitehurst, ajc, 3 Aug. 2022 Some cities could get safe injection sites to help address drug overdose deaths. Los Angeles Times, 3 Aug. 2022 But before the Sox could get a cross-checker to see Valdez, the Astros signed him. Alex Speier, BostonGlobe.com, 3 Aug. 2022 Shareholders could get smaller dividends or lower returns if the tax is enacted, even if none of the impact is ultimately filtered to workers through lower wages. Richard Rubin, WSJ, 3 Aug. 2022 From her home in Green Oaks, Ill., Crovetti, 52, immediately tried calling her grandma but couldn’t get through. Jonathan Edwards, Washington Post, 3 Aug. 2022 Lamet's role is yet to be determined but could potentially be used in a multi-inning role. Curt Hogg, Journal Sentinel, 3 Aug. 2022 Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone expects to have a more robust law enforcement presence than usual on election day, but many will be plainclothes deputies watching for any issues that could interfere with the right to vote peacefully. The Arizona Republic, 3 Aug. 2022 Within an hour, the temperature in that car could have exceeded 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Emmarie Huetteman, CBS News, 3 Aug. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'could.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of could

13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for could

Middle English couthe, coude, from Old English cūthe; akin to Old High German konda could

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Time Traveler for could

Time Traveler

The first known use of could was in the 13th century

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Statistics for could

Last Updated

6 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Could.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/could. Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for could


\ kəd How to pronounce could (audio) , ˈku̇d \

Kids Definition of could

past tense 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on could

Nglish: Translation of could for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of could for Arabic Speakers


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