should

auxiliary verb \ shəd , ˈshu̇d \

Definition of should

1 used in auxiliary function to express condition
  • if 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 Shakespeare
  • this is as it should be
  • —H. L. Savage
  • you should brush your teeth after each meal
3 used in auxiliary function to express futurity from a point of view in the past
  • realized 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 expected
  • with 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 statement
  • I should suggest that a guide … is the first essential
  • —L. D. Reddick

Origin and Etymology of should

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


SHOULD Defined for Kids

should

\ shəd , ˈshu̇d \

Definition of should for Students

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 shall
  • Should I turn the light out?


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to suppress quietly or indirectly

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one-green-toy-robot-amidst-many-red-toy-robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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