\ shəd, ˈshu̇d How to pronounce should (audio) \

Definition of should

past tense of shall

1 used in auxiliary function to express conditionif he should leave his father, his father would die — Genesis 44:22 (Revised Standard Version)
2 used in auxiliary function to express obligation, propriety, or expediency'tis commanded I should do so— William Shakespearethis is as it should be— H. L. Savageyou should brush your teeth after each meal
3 used in auxiliary function to express futurity from a point of view in the pastrealized that she should have to do most of her farm work before sunrise— Ellen Glasgow
4 used in auxiliary function to express what is probable or expectedwith an early start, they should be here by noon
5 used in auxiliary function to express a request in a polite manner or to soften direct statementI should suggest that a guide … is the first essential— L. D. Reddick

First Known Use of should

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for should

Middle English sholde, from Old English sceolde owed, was obliged to, ought to

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Time Traveler for should

Time Traveler

The first known use of should was before the 12th century

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Cite this Entry

“Should.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/should. Accessed 29 January 2020.

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More Definitions for should


\ shəd How to pronounce should (audio) , ˈshu̇d \

Kids Definition of should

past tense of shall

1 : ought to They should be here soon.
2 : happen to If you should see them, say hello for me.
3 used as a more polite or less assured form of shallShould I turn the light out?

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More from Merriam-Webster on should

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for should

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with should

Spanish Central: Translation of should

Nglish: Translation of should for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of should for Arabic Speakers

Comments on should

What made you want to look up should? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to assert without proof or before proving

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