\ 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.

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

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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.

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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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