would

verb

wəd,
əd,
d,
ˈwu̇d How to pronounce would (audio)

past tense of will

1
used in auxiliary function to express plan or intention
said we would come
2
: should
knew I would enjoy the trip
would be glad to know the answer
3
used in auxiliary function to express consent or choice
would put it off if he could
4
used in auxiliary function to express probability or presumption in past or present time
would have won if I had not tripped
5
used in auxiliary function to express a request with which voluntary compliance is expected
would you please help us
6
used in auxiliary function with rather or sooner to express preference
he would sooner die than face them
7
a
used in auxiliary function in the conclusion of a conditional sentence to express a contingency or possibility
if he were coming, he would be here now
b
used in auxiliary function in a noun clause (such as one completing a statement of desire, request, or advice)
we wish that he would go
8
used in auxiliary function to express custom or habitual action
we would meet often for lunch
9
: could
the barrel would hold 20 gallons
10
used in auxiliary function to express doubt or uncertainty
the explanation … would seem satisfactory
11
a
used in auxiliary function to express wish, desire, or intent
those who would forbid gambling
b
used in auxiliary function to express willingness or preference
as ye would that men should do to youLuke 6:31 (King James Version)
12
a
: strongly desire : wish
I would I were young again
often used without a subject and with that in a past or conditional construction
would that I had heeded your advice
b
archaic : wished, desired
c
archaic : wish for : want

Examples of would in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Whenever the Patriots were in it, Jason would go with Devin and act as the family liaison. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, 12 Feb. 2023 Trudeau said Canadian forces would recover the wreckage for study. Adn News Service and Staff Reports, Anchorage Daily News, 11 Feb. 2023 Even while watching last year's Super Bowl, Bill Richards was planning how this year's pregame show would look. Joe Reedy, ajc, 11 Feb. 2023 Over the years, the 15-year-old lost hope that would change. Kyle Melnick, Washington Post, 11 Feb. 2023 The Waldorf would easily eclipse the 85-floor, 868-foot Panorama tower built several years ago by Florida East Coast Realty and its pioneering founder, Tibor Hollo. David Lyons, Sun Sentinel, 11 Feb. 2023 Maryland women’s lacrosse coach Cathy Reese wondered how both her offense and defense, which largely consist of a mix of experienced veterans and new faces, would look in 2023. Taylor Lyons, Baltimore Sun, 11 Feb. 2023 The Wildcats fought through an interesting final quarter, yet the Bulldogs would not be denied in finishing off this victory. Indy Star Ai Sports, The Indianapolis Star, 11 Feb. 2023 And though rumors abounded that former coordinator Liam Coen would return to Lexington, nothing was official. Ryan Black, The Courier-Journal, 11 Feb. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'would.' 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

Middle English wolde, from Old English; akin to Old High German wolta wished, desired

First Known Use

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

Time Traveler
The first known use of would was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near would

Cite this Entry

“Would.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/would. Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

would

verb
wəd How to pronounce would (audio)
əd,
d,
(ˈ)wu̇d

past of will

1
: strongly desire : wish
I would I were young again
2
used as a helping verb to express (1) preference or willingness
I would sooner die than face them
, (2) wish or intent
those who would forbid free access to books
, (3) plan or intention
said they would come
, (4) custom or usual behavior
we would meet often for lunch
, (5) consent or choice
would put it off if they could
, (6) possibility
if they were coming, they would be here now
, (7) completion of a statement of desire, request, or advice
I wish that you would go
, or (8) probability or likelihood in past or present time
would have won if she had not tripped
3
: could
the pitcher would hold two liters
4
used as a helping verb to word a polite request or to show doubt or uncertainty
would you please help us
the explanation would seem satisfactory
5
: should
knew I would enjoy the trip
would be glad to know the answer

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