\ 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 Even with the defense clicking, the best the Fever could do was an eight-point deficit. J.l. Kirven, The Indianapolis Star, 17 June 2021 But last August, even these masters of survival couldn’t hold on as the Castle Fire raged through Sequoia National Park. Jon Schlosberg, ABC News, 16 June 2021 Arizona led 7-0 in the second inning, but couldn’t hold on and lost its 12th in a row overall. Michael Wagaman, ajc, 16 June 2021 Even Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is a two-time MVP award winner, could do nothing but praise Durant afterwards. Ben Morse, CNN, 16 June 2021 Hayman added that people were able to bring in limited book donations during the pandemic but because of lack of space, the library didn’t publicize that patrons could do so. Cameron Fields, cleveland, 16 June 2021 Cloud spotters could see a catalogue of types slowly drifting across the blue. Washington Post, 16 June 2021 If those agreements don’t adjust rent to account for inflation, landlords could see their real incomes shrink. Karen Langley, WSJ, 16 June 2021 Who ever wins Brady’s trust in that regard this year could see a significant amount of offensive snaps and play a big role in growing Tampa’s offensive capability. Liam Fox, Forbes, 16 June 2021

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

19 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Could.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/could. Accessed 20 Jun. 2021.

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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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