could


could
could [kood]
v.aux.
[altered (infl. by WOULD, SHOULD) < ME coud < OE cuthe (akin to Goth kuntha, OHG konda, ON kunna), pt. of cunnan, to be able: see CAN1]
1. pt. of CAN1 [he gave what he could give]
2. used as a modal auxiliary in verbal phrases with present or future time reference, generally equivalent to CAN1 in meaning and use, with the following functions:
a) expressing esp. a shade of doubt or a smaller degree of ability or possibility [it could be so]
b) expressing permission [could I go?]
c) forming the present conditional [it would help if he could wait]
d) forming the past conditional [he would have left if he could]
e) expressing or suggesting politely less certainty than CAN1 [could you wait?]: As a modal auxiliary, could is followed by an infinitive without to
vi.
pt. of CAN1 [he gave what he could]
vt.
pt. of CAN1

English World dictionary. . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • could — [ weak kəd, strong kud ] modal verb *** Could is usually followed by an infinitive without to : I m glad you could come. Sometimes it is used without a following infinitive: I came as quickly as I could. Could does not change its form, so the… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • could — W1S1 [kəd strong kud] modal v negative short form couldn t ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 1¦(past ability)¦ 2¦(possibility)¦ 3¦(emphasizing your feelings)¦ 4¦(requesting)¦ 5¦(suggesting)¦ 6¦(annoyance)¦ 7 couldn t be better/worse/more pleased etc 8 I couldn t …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • could — modal auxiliary. 1. See can. It functions as (1) the past tense of can, as in We could see for miles, (2) as a conditional equivalent to would be able to, as in I could take you in the car if you like, and (3) as a more tentative form of can in… …   Modern English usage

  • Could — (k??d), imp. of {Can}. [OF. coude. The l was inserted by mistake, under the influence of should and would.] Was, should be, or would be, able, capable, or susceptible. Used as an auxiliary, in the past tense or in the conditional present. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • could've — [kood′əv] contraction could have * * * …   Universalium

  • could've — (could have) v. used to express the possibility that one may have been able to do something …   English contemporary dictionary

  • could — could; could·est; …   English syllables

  • could've — [kood′əv] contraction could have …   English World dictionary

  • could|n't — «KUD uhnt», could not …   Useful english dictionary

  • could — O.E. cuðe, pt. of cunnan to be able (see CAN (Cf. can) (v.)); ending changed 14c. to standard English d(e). The excrescent l was added 15c. 16c. on model of would, should, where it is historical …   Etymology dictionary