could

auxiliary verb \ kəd , ˈku̇d \

Definition of could

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.
  • past tense of can

Origin and Etymology of could

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

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms


COULD Defined for Kids

could

\ kəd , ˈku̇d \

Definition of could for Students

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.
  • past tense of can

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