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

Definition of should

past tense of shall

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 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 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

Examples of should in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Levin highlighted his own labor background in making the case that he should be reelected at a time the country has seen a surge in unionization efforts. Clara Hendrickson, Detroit Free Press, 25 May 2022 The families and a survivor argued the company should have never sold such a dangerous weapon to the public. Susan Haigh And Lisa Mascaro, Chicago Tribune, 25 May 2022 Efforts to redress grievances as old as those in Shasta County should be considered on their merits, not dismissed out of hand. Kent Russell, Harper’s Magazine , 25 May 2022 The Justice Department said anyone with information relevant to the investigation should contact it by email, at Community.Kentucky@usdoj.gov or through the website, https://civilrights.justice.gov. Deborah Yetter, The Courier-Journal, 24 May 2022 The holder should provide proper ventilation for quick drying and odor control. Jodhaira Rodriguez, Good Housekeeping, 24 May 2022 Anyone in their mid to late 20s should toss a wrinkle cream or serum into their routine. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 24 May 2022 Anyone with mild-to-moderate spring allergies should find some relief with the following options: Modern antihistamines won’t put you to sleep like first-generation antihistamines were known to do. Rachel Nall, Msn, SELF, 24 May 2022 ExxonMobil claimed it should be shielded from the case by a state law that protects defendants from politically motivated lawsuits that seek to censor or silence their views. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 24 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'should.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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

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Last Updated

26 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Should.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/should. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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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 shall Should I turn the light out?


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