What does Could mean?

Definitions for Could
kʊd; unstressed kədcould

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word Could.

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  1. couldverb

    simple past tense of can

    Before I was blind, I could see very well.

  2. couldverb

    conditional of can Used as a past subjunctive. Used to politely ask for permission to do something. Used to politely ask for someone else to do something. Used to show the possibility that something might happen. Used to suggest something.

    I think he could do it if he really wanted to.

  3. Etymology: From Middle English coude, couthe, cuthe, from Old English cūþe, past indicative and past subjunctive form of cunnan ("to be able") (compare related cūþ, whence English couth). The silent 'l' was added in the early 16th century by analogy with should and would, at which time the 'l' in those words was already also silent (and was sometimes not written, leading to shudd, wode, etc).[1]

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Couldthe imperfect preterite of can.

    Was able to; had power to.

    And if I have done well, and as is fitting the story, it is that which I desired; but if slenderly and meanly, it is that which I could attain unto. 2 Mac. xv. 38.

    What if he did not all the ill he could?
    Am I oblig’d by that t’ assist his rapines,
    And to maintain his murders? John Dryden, Spanish Fryar.


  1. could

    The English modal verbs are a subset of the English auxiliary verbs used mostly to express modality (properties such as possibility, obligation, etc.). They can be distinguished from other verbs by their defectiveness (they do not have participle or infinitive forms) and by their neutralization (that they do not take the ending -(e)s in the third-person singular). The principal English modal verbs are can, could, may, might, shall, should, will, would, and must. Certain other verbs are sometimes, but not always, classed as modals; these include ought, had better, and (in certain uses) dare and need. Verbs which share only some of the characteristics of the principal modals are sometimes called "quasi-modals", "semi-modals", or "pseudo-modals".


  1. could

    Could is a modal verb that is used to indicate possibility or ability in conditional or hypothetical situations. It suggests that something is likely or feasible but not certain, or that someone has the potential or capability to do something.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Could

    of Can

  2. Could

    was, should be, or would be, able, capable, or susceptible. Used as an auxiliary, in the past tense or in the conditional present

  3. Etymology: [OF. coude. The l was inserted by mistake, under the influence of should and would.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Could

    kood, pa.t. of Can. [M. E. coude, couth—A.S. cúðe for cunðe, was able; l is inserted from the influence of would and should.]

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Could' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #62

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Could' in Written Corpus Frequency: #88

  3. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Could' in Verbs Frequency: #14

How to pronounce Could?

How to say Could in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of Could in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of Could in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

Examples of Could in a Sentence

  1. Evan Greer:

    Amazon is going to get someone killed by recklessly marketing this dangerous and invasive surveillance technology to goverments, facial recognition already automates and exacerbates police abuse, profiling and discrimination. Now Amazon is setting us on a path where armed goverment agents could make split-second decisions based on a flawed algorithms cold testimony.

  2. Merrick Garland:

    I could not be more proud of the extraordinary effort by investigators and prosecutors to hold accountable those who engaged in criminal acts that day.

  3. Van Vleuten:

    My goal today was to be my best self ever and I succeeded. I mean, we can whine about the miscommunication for a long time, but I could have won gold here in this form. I did very well, yeah, I ’m really proud of it. I mean, it’s a silver medal, but it does have a bit of a shine to it. And it’s also my first medal, is n’t it ? I do have an Olympic medal. A lot of people would kill for that.

  4. Steny Hoyer:

    Well, I think there are hard views on both sides, and sadly, apparently, President Donald Trump was perhaps right when President Donald Trump said of President Donald Trump own supporters that President Donald Trump could shoot somebody in the middle of Fifth Avenue and they would not require any accountability.

  5. Padraig Harrington of Ireland:

    Being here is a little bit like Christmas dinner or Thanksgiving for your family. You could have a sibling sitting there and — we’ll Americanize it: You could be a Republican; they could be a Democrat, but you’re friends at that particular time, and maybe politics isn’t mentioned at the dinner table, we are here for two days, and it’s great to see.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for Could

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"Could." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 25 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/Could>.

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    take away to an undisclosed location against their will and usually in order to extract a ransom
    A abhor
    B abduct
    C famish
    D abase

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