Definition of could in English:

could

Pronunciation: /kəd//kʊd/

verb

  • 1

    past of can
    • ‘We could hear the clear belling from inside the patch of forest in the valley.’
    • ‘The budgie knew his name, address and telephone number and could sing Three Blind Mice.’
    • ‘My boyfriend and I wanted to sign up for the class so that we could take it together for fun.’
    • ‘I once read that in battle the most dangerous thing you could do was run away.’
    • ‘We could see nothing except for the next few curves as the path climbed relentlessly into the clouds.’
    • ‘After the show, back at the stable lines, Barbara explained that I could ride a bit.’
    • ‘Seven bridges were built so that the people of the city could get from one part to another.’
    • ‘How did you go about putting that into words so you could file a sensible report to camera?’
    • ‘That meant we could catch the light and sound show in the evening.’
    • ‘It felt symbolic of the trip - taking a leap of faith and finding you could exceed your limits.’
    • ‘Several families had to untie bikes from the backs of their cars before they could gain access to the boot.’
    • ‘It tried as hard as it could to rally in the third, but the game had long been out of reach.’
    • ‘The first thing to go for was a decent wash in fresh water as we could only have salt water to wash in on board.’
    • ‘Yet if its occurrence could be measured on this basis, it would be found to be non-existent.’
    • ‘From Point Baptiste, we could see the low outline of the French island of Marie Galante.’
    • ‘All that anyone could do at that point was stay back and watch the mesmerizing scene.’
    • ‘So I had to learn every aspect as much as I could, in order to get through it and make it.’
    • ‘I was stunned by the sheer volume of sound that twenty five singers could make.’
    • ‘He couldn't handle both of them at once, and he had to get rid of her after she'd seen him.’
    • ‘I made as if to look suitably impressed, but hardly felt that I could compare notes.’
    1. 1.1 Used to indicate possibility:
      ‘they could be right’
      ‘I would go if I could afford it’
      • ‘One could say that it was not as good as in a strictly Italian resto, but still it was very good.’
      • ‘If my guess is correct then your problem could be related to ageing or some other cause.’
      • ‘It could force the service to be closed permanently.’
      • ‘He only saw the formula in its microscopic form and didn't realize that it could be macroscopic.’
      • ‘He bristles at the notion that his views could be seen as disloyal to his country.’
      • ‘One possibility is that he could be sent abroad, but in practice this rarely happens.’
      • ‘We have good speed and we thought we could pressure them with just a straight pass rush.’
      • ‘We are supposed to imagine that this telephone conversation could be taking place right now.’
      • ‘He then asked her record company if he could duet with her and was rejected.’
      • ‘In fact, he pours cold water on any suggestion he could be a future coach of the club.’
      • ‘In theory, you could spend all day every day in the environs of your bungalow.’
      • ‘There is also the possibility that it could be used to re-examine unsolved crimes.’
      • ‘There will be a possibility that police could give advice to members of the public in the room.’
      • ‘He could have bowed out gracefully at any time and it looked like he might, but now this.’
      • ‘It is not beyond the realm of possibility that a deal could have been struck.’
      • ‘Don't put it in the hollow of the cheek in an attempt to shade your face, or it could end up looking like a dirty smudge.’
      • ‘In theory at least, this implies that adding telomerase to cells could rejuvenate them.’
      • ‘Early suggestions were that this could be for two days a week, but it has so far been restricted to twice a year.’
      • ‘When we arrived, the sand was so crisp and clean it could have just come back from the Atlantic laundry.’
      • ‘They could well afford it, given the millions they rake in from the motoring public.’
    2. 1.2 Used in making suggestions or polite requests:
      ‘you could always ring him up’
      ‘could I use the phone?’
      • ‘We had a letter to say they had not received the form and could I make a request for a new one.’
      • ‘Is there a small heater you could recommend for when the icy weather returns?’
      • ‘I would be grateful if any readers could tell me more.’
      • ‘Where did you find the information that you used to write it, and could you suggest a few books for me?’
    3. 1.3 Used to indicate annoyance because of something that has not been done:
      ‘they could have told me!’
    4. 1.4 Used to indicate a strong inclination to do something:
      ‘he irritates me so much that I could scream’

Usage

For a discussion on the use of could of instead of could have, see have

Pronunciation:

could

/kəd//kʊd/