could

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auxiliary verb \kəd, ˈku̇d\

Definition of could

  1. past tense of can

  1. —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.

Origin and Etymology of could

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


First Known Use: 13th century

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms


COULD Defined for Kids

could

play
\kəd, ˈku̇d\

Definition of could for Students

  1. past of can

  1. 1 —used as a helping verb in the past Her daughter could read at the age of five.

  2. 2 —used as a polite form instead of can Could you help me?

  3. 3 —used to say something is possible You could win. You could have been hurt.


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the point at which something begins

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