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

Definition of could

past tense of can

used in auxiliary function in the pastWe found we could go. , in the past conditionalWe 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 presentIf you could come, we would be pleased.

Examples of could in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web As of Saturday morning the Storm Prediction Center doesn’t have Alabama in a risk for severe weather for the next few days, but that could change. Leigh Morgan, al, "Isolated severe storms possible again today in Alabama," 27 June 2020 Meeting someone powerful, one who could very significantly change your life, is emphasized today. BostonGlobe.com, "Horoscope," 26 June 2020 The guidelines explain how health requirements could change based on the three reopening phases and offer an outline for how to respond to a COVID-19 positive or presumptive positive case on campus. David Jacobs, Washington Examiner, "Louisiana officials issue guidelines about reopening schools amid COVID-19," 26 June 2020 Kentucky and the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District are monitoring the situation and do not expect people with respiratory ailments will be affected, though the forecast could change. David J. Kim, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky will see vibrant sunsets, sunrises this weekend, thanks to dust from Sahara Desert," 26 June 2020 In light of recent protests following the killing of George Floyd, though, that sentiment could change. Alli Gordon, CNN, "Mississippi may have the votes to change its state flag, says a senior lawmaker," 26 June 2020 There are signs things could change rapidly if Democrats win the Senate and Biden wins the White House: numerous Democratic candidates expressed their support for, or at least their interest in, ditching the filibuster during the primaries. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "D.C. Statehood Is a Test of Biden’s Political Courage," 26 June 2020 Based on the study and future warming predictions, scientists believe South American forests will be most affected by climate change, but understanding this temperature threshold could help improve conservation efforts. Lindsey Mcginnis, The Christian Science Monitor, "Points of Progress: Legal protections for LGBTQ employees, and more," 26 June 2020 Though his spot on the 2020-21 roster isn’t guaranteed, some within the organization believe that Toscano-Anderson could help round out the rotation for years to come. Connor Letourneau, SFChronicle.com, "Juan Toscano-Anderson: Can forward stick with Warriors?," 26 June 2020

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.

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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

30 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Could.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/could. Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

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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 pastHer daughter could read at the age of five.
2 used as a polite form instead of canCould you help me?
3 used to say something is possibleYou could win.You could have been hurt.

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More from Merriam-Webster on could

Spanish Central: Translation of could

Nglish: Translation of could for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of could for Arabic Speakers

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