couple

1 of 3

noun

cou·​ple ˈkə-pəl How to pronounce couple (audio)
 "couple of" is often  ˌkə-plə(v)
1
a
: two persons married, engaged, or otherwise romantically paired
b
: two persons paired together
The people were lined up in couples.
2
: pair, brace
needed a couple of bookends
3
: something that joins or links two things together: such as
a
: two equal and opposite forces that act along parallel lines
b
: a pair of substances that in contact with an electrolyte (see electrolyte sense 1) participate in a transfer of electrons which causes an electric current to flow
4
: an indefinite small number : few
a couple of days ago
coupledom noun

couple

2 of 3

verb

cou·​ple ˈkə-pəl How to pronounce couple (audio)
coupled; coupling ˈkə-p(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce couple (audio)

transitive verb

1
a
: to connect for consideration together
b
: to join for combined effect
2
a
: to fasten together : link
b
: to bring (two electric circuits) into such close proximity as to permit mutual influence
3
: to join in marriage or sexual union

intransitive verb

1
: to unite in sexual union
2
: join
3
: to unite chemically

couple

3 of 3

adjective

: two
also : few
used with a
a couple drinks
Is couple an adjective?: Usage Guide

The adjective use of a couple, without of, has been called nonstandard, but it is not. In both British and American English it is standard before a word (such as more or less) indicating degree.

a couple more examples of Middle English writing Charles Barber

Its use before an ordinary plural noun is an Americanism, common in speech and in writing that is not meant to be formal or elevated.

the first couple chapters are pretty good E. B. White (letter)
still operated a couple wagons for hire Garrison Keillor

It is most frequently used with periods of time

a couple weeks

and numbers.

a couple hundred
a couple dozen

Examples of couple in a Sentence

Noun “Are they a couple?” “No, they are just good friends.” Seventeen couples participated in the survey. Verb a device that makes it possible to couple the pieces The coils are loosely coupled. The wire is coupled to the terminal. It took an hour to couple the trailer to the truck. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The couple welcomed twin sons a month later: Bo Thompson Jenner and Sam Stoker Jenner. Lynsey Eidell, Peoplemag, 27 Feb. 2024 Poor couples without resources will just not have access to IVF anymore. Jenny Jarvie, Los Angeles Times, 27 Feb. 2024 The recordings include a 23-second audio clip of Kidwell screaming before being killed and footage of the couple’s older son running inside to look for help as his mother is shot to death, according to court documents. Quinlan Bentley, The Enquirer, 27 Feb. 2024 In October, however, the league issued a statement defending its coverage of the couple, and Swift herself spoke out about the complaints in her December Person of the Year Time cover story. Hannah Dailey, Billboard, 27 Feb. 2024 The couple were likely thrown into the ocean and died, police in Grenada said. Cheryl McCloud, USA TODAY, 27 Feb. 2024 Dressed casually in mall-type sweatshirts and baseball caps, with extra-large Stanley cups tucked under their arms, the two are just weeks away from welcoming the couple’s third child. Tim Chan, The Hollywood Reporter, 26 Feb. 2024 Both halves of the power couple have lots to be proud of: Hadid has her luxury knitwear brand, Guest In Residence, and Cooper is nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in Maestro. Hannah Jackson, Vogue, 26 Feb. 2024 Anybody with information on the whereabouts of the couple or the children was asked in the alert to call 911 or contact Wilmer police at 972-441-6565. James Hartley, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 26 Feb. 2024
Verb
Increasingly, fleet managers can couple these efforts with powerful predictive analytics built into a platform that can anticipate future trends, like vehicle maintenance schedules, route optimization and fuel consumption forecasting. Amit Jain, Forbes, 28 Feb. 2024 Analysts expect the Kremlin to try to couple his surefire electoral victory with fresh gains on the front in Ukraine, where Russian forces have been taking the initiative against a Ukrainian Army struggling amid dwindling Western support. Anton Troianovski, New York Times, 17 Feb. 2024 The Macintosh coupled them in an attractive case that looked good on desks at home. George Petras, USA TODAY, 24 Jan. 2024 Promiscuous coupled queers, especially gay men, are rarely seen as polyamorous and are perhaps less likely to identify as such; non‑monogamy from gay men is viewed as natural, or at least natural to gay culture, dispensing with the need for a separate moniker. TIME, 9 Feb. 2024 Republicans favor coupling tax cuts and spending cuts, in opposition to a plan some Democrats support that would increase corporate taxes and income taxes for the state’s wealthiest residents. Katie Shepherd, Washington Post, 7 Feb. 2024 Now, she’s coupled her truly extraordinary physical talent with a thriving music career, creating dynamic music videos laden with dance breaks reminiscent of a young Britney’s. Hannah Jackson, Vogue, 25 Jan. 2024 As mentioned earlier, because the fields of the Standard Model are coupled, a ripple corresponding to a particle in one field always causes disturbances in other fields. Luke Caldwell, Scientific American, 16 Jan. 2024 Though there are new rules each season to keep the competition fresh for the islanders, the show starts with five pairs who are coupled up. Francesca Gariano, Peoplemag, 30 Dec. 2023
Adjective
The two cofounders take turns working out of each other’s garages every couple weeks as a break from going into the San Francisco office. Kylie Robison, Fortune, 13 Feb. 2024 Matthew Tkachuk’s production is starting to match his effort level: The Panthers were never really worried about Tkachuk’s low point total through the first couple months of the season. Jordan McPherson, Miami Herald, 29 Jan. 2024 Gomez’s hosting night with boyfriend Blanco comes after the pair — whose romance was confirmed in December 2023 — made their couple debut at the 2024 Golden Globes last Sunday. Escher Walcott, Peoplemag, 14 Jan. 2024 These trips couple eco-friendly travel accommodations with kid-friendly nature experiences. Melissa Klurman, Parents, 1 Dec. 2023 Each time, the couple dozen people on board each one step off and take a look around. Matt Rivers, ABC News, 22 Sep. 2023 Over the years, their children have started families of their own, giving the couple 14 grandchildren. Kelsie Gibson, Peoplemag, 31 Aug. 2023 The class will cover major issues couple face and will present easy-to-understand solutions. Linda McIntosh, San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 Aug. 2023 Although Margot doesn't have an Instagram to share adorable couple pics, Tom does, and yes, Margot makes the occasional appearance. Sabrina Talbert, Women's Health, 19 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'couple.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun, Verb, and Adjective

Middle English, pair, bond, from Anglo-French cuple, from Latin copula bond, from co- + apere to fasten — more at apt

First Known Use

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Adjective

1924, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of couple was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near couple

Cite this Entry

“Couple.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/couple. Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

couple

1 of 3 noun
cou·​ple ˈkəp-əl How to pronounce couple (audio)
1
: two persons romantically paired or associated together (as by marriage or on a date)
2
: two persons or things paired together
3
: an indefinite small number : few
a couple of days ago

couple

2 of 3 verb
coupled; coupling
ˈkəp-(ə-)liŋ
1
: to join together : connect
2
: to join in pairs
coupler
-p(ə-)lər
noun

couple

3 of 3 adjective
: two sense 1
also : several entry 1 sense 2
a couple days ago

More from Merriam-Webster on couple

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!